Case Study

Bluedrop Successfully Engages AWS to Automate Infrastructure for Client Services

“Bluedrop cuts no corners when it comes to infrastructure management. By utilizing AWS services that directly impact the performance of their system, as well as having everything defined and described in code (infrastructure as well), they are ensuring that peak performance in using the system as well as creating new systems for new clients.”

Adnan Muslija, Principal DevOps Engineer at Toptal

“Adnan listens then uses his strong architecture design and programming talents for building cloud infrastructure solutions. He is quick to adapt, knows and implements best practices, and provides tactful advice. Adnan delivers, and quickly.”

David Valentiate, Senior Software Developer at Bluedrop Performance Learning

Having Signed On a New Large Client, Bluedrop Needed to Automate Their Infrastructure Deployment for Additional Capacity

One “problem” that companies don’t mind having is that of onboarding a new client, even when that client is large enough such that a new infrastructure needs to be deployed. However, these new systems need to not only be robust but also efficient to use; manually setting up or updating a new system can take a considerable amount of time for each process, while today’s economy demands speed. And given that there is currently no universal or standard way for companies to automate environments, many companies decide to tackle this on their own, using their own on-premise hardware to cobble together a solution that’s often good enough for the time being. With Bluedrop, however, they quickly realized that they needed outside assistance to ensure that their new technology would be implemented quickly and seamlessly.

To tackle this implementation, Bluedrop sought out the assistance of Toptal and accessed its global network of the most highly vetted engineers. They subsequently brought on Adnan Muslija – an engineer through Toptal’s AWS DevOps practice – in order to work with their own DevOps engineer in implementing a new system to automate development and management of their AWS resources. Adnan’s goal was to create tooling that would help Bluedrop mimic the existing infrastructure for a new client, and in automating this process, bypass the need for any manual inputs.

This tooling was significant because of the potential impacts: managing new infrastructure deployments manually is a cumbersome and time-consuming process, whereas the new tooling being created would allow someone to do so very quickly, in about an hour. Not only was this a significant amount of time saved, particularly in the aggregate, but it also reduced the chance of errors. “Having your infrastructure in code and automated is crucial for creating and managing new production environments, especially when onboarding clients,” observed Adnan.

The core AWS services used for this deployment were EC2, S3, and the RDS database. The AWS RDS service, in particular, was essential in this case, as previously the database had been the bottleneck, but by integrating AWS’ database service Aurora, Bluedrop was able to scale more reliably and achieve high availability. The shift to Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility allowed Bluedrop to target greater throughput, scalability, and resiliency, with a reliable database fully managed by RDS and S3.

Another differentiator among AWS services is their powerful API, which allowed the DevOps engineers to use tools like Terraform to create templates for infrastructure. This ability to access API resources in Terraform enabled the deployment of standard infrastructure as code, without the need for significant effort.

Bluedrop Enables Quick and Automated Infrastructure Deployment and Is Prepared for Future Clients

When Bluedrop found that their developers needed a new environment to deal with a new client, time was of the essence, and creating a new infrastructure manually is anything but a quick process. With the new tooling, Bluedrop has been able to manage this client in an environment that isn’t prone to errors, and because it has easier replicability, any future new client onboarding will be much simpler. The freedom from having to worry about database issues has been priceless for Bluedrop, as has the newly automated network separation and configuration. Now, when new clients seek out Bluedrop’s eLearning services – whether or not they need a new infrastructure – that onboarding will be essentially automated, assuring the best possible outcome for the client as well as the service provider.

Bluedrop Performance Learning and AWS

Bluedrop Performance Learning is Canada’s largest full-service eLearning company. They provide custom courseware and learning solutions for a number of industries, including healthcare and defense/aerospace, as well as for small businesses and governments. Bluedrop has been listed as one of Canada’s Top 50 Defense Companies due to its work producing mission training solutions for international military and commercial aviation clients. The firm also provides SaaS-based workforce development solutions to help customers improve employment outcomes and ensure workers’ safety.

The Team

David Valentiate

David Valentiate

Senior Software Developer, Bluedrop Performance Learning

David is the lead designer and implementer of Bluedrop Learning Networks' cloud operations and automated code deployment processes. David is an experienced full web stack developer willing to find the root cause on just about any downtime and restore service. He is a proponent of DevOps culture, containerization, and uses GitOps practices to define the desired state of deployed services and infrastructure.
Adnan Muslija

Adnan Muslija

Principal DevOps Engineer, Toptal

From designing architecture to deploying complex infrastructure, Adnan has experience in both startups and enterprise project development. He has developed and maintained complex systems and also provided support that enhances and stabilizes the operations. By using DevOps practices, Adnan has provisioned infrastructures on cloud platforms like AWS, managed and orchestrated processes, and developed continuous integration and delivery flows.

Our Partnership

Our Partnership
As an Advanced Consulting Partner in the Amazon Partner Network (APN), Toptal provides cloud solutions for companies and works with them in every stage of their journey.

Looking Ahead to Future Growth

A company can spend all the money in the world on new technology, but without a sound plan for implementation, the costs – both monetarily and to the company’s reputation – can be astronomical and unrecoverable. With the help of Toptal, Bluedrop was able to bring in the right resource to safeguard their investment by getting the job done right the first time, thereby providing their new client with their usual high standard of excellent service. Because Bluedrop works with a significant number of government organizations, the issue of security is paramount, and a fully automated process is much more adept at ensuring compliance and diminishing greatly the possibility of introducing errors. Providing the new client with their own separate infrastructure also helped maintain security integrity, with the installation of a tooling process that is easily transferable to other new clients. By taking a longer-term approach, Bluedrop has ensured that not only are they giving current clients the best service, but that future clients will see a seamless experience as well.

Rapid deployment of new infrastructure, in under an hour.
Rapid deployment of new infrastructure, in under an hour.
Reliable database fully managed by AWS RDS and S3, allowing Bluedrop to target greater throughput, scalability, and resiliency.
Reliable database fully managed by AWS RDS and S3, allowing Bluedrop to target greater throughput, scalability, and resiliency.
Automated development and management of AWS resources, allowing Bluedrop to focus on their top priorities.
Automated development and management of AWS resources, allowing Bluedrop to focus on their top priorities.
Bluedrop Performance Learning and AWS

Bluedrop Performance Learning is Canada’s largest full-service eLearning company. They provide custom courseware and learning solutions for a number of industries, including healthcare and defense/aerospace, as well as for small businesses and governments. Bluedrop has been listed as one of Canada’s Top 50 Defense Companies due to its work producing mission training solutions for international military and commercial aviation clients. The firm also provides SaaS-based workforce development solutions to help customers improve employment outcomes and ensure workers’ safety.

The Team

David Valentiate

David Valentiate

Senior Software Developer, Bluedrop Performance Learning

David is the lead designer and implementer of Bluedrop Learning Networks' cloud operations and automated code deployment processes. David is an experienced full web stack developer willing to find the root cause on just about any downtime and restore service. He is a proponent of DevOps culture, containerization, and uses GitOps practices to define the desired state of deployed services and infrastructure.
Adnan Muslija

Adnan Muslija

Principal DevOps Engineer, Toptal

From designing architecture to deploying complex infrastructure, Adnan has experience in both startups and enterprise project development. He has developed and maintained complex systems and also provided support that enhances and stabilizes the operations. By using DevOps practices, Adnan has provisioned infrastructures on cloud platforms like AWS, managed and orchestrated processes, and developed continuous integration and delivery flows.

Our Partnership

Our Partnership
As an Advanced Consulting Partner in the Amazon Partner Network (APN), Toptal provides cloud solutions for companies and works with them in every stage of their journey.