Break Free from Commercial Proprietary Databases with Database Migration Service (DMS)

Executive Summary

The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) is a flagship institution in the areas of applied education, research and training. It is a leading institute locally, regionally, globally and internationally. They are using Moodle application as their Learning Management System (LMS). It was hosted in an on-premises infrastructure where the authority was obligated to pay for commercial MS SQL license fees. The authority faced a troubling scenario where the system experienced high traffic rates as exams and other curricular activities were carried out through the LMS. This was further heightened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in system degradation of their on-premises infrastructure.

To mitigate these challenges, the PAAET collaborated with KUWAITNET to architect a scalable, ideal, and reliable solution with minimal cost. As a trusted AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, KUWAITNET served the PAAET with an optimal solution to design, architect and migrate their application and database to the AWS Cloud platform. The platform was resiliently built on fundamentals of security, scalability, and reliability. KUWAITNET successfully migrated the Moodle application to the AWS Cloud and performed a heterogeneous migration of its database i.e, from MS SQL to MySQL, which helped the PAAET to reduce their operational costs drastically.

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It was established on December 28, 1982, with the objective to incorporate the various educational facilities that had been created to fill the need for technical and vocational education and training in Kuwait. The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training PAAET has developed its mission to meet the demands of an effective labour market through its various sectors (private, public and contributory) to provide national, educated and trained manpower with high competency, quality and adequacy. Providing a unique researchable, investable, trainable, cultural medium that interacts with the sustainable developments to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub achieving optimal utilization of resources and abilities. The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training is an in-lighting source of creativity, innovation and development, achieving the aspirations of its members and its partners with high quality, a leader in development in various fields.

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About the Project

The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) wanted to move the existing legacy Moodle application and database to the cloud and reduce capital expenditure, minimize support and administrative costs, and retain performance, security, and reliability requirements in accordance with demands. The PAAET wishes to provision compute power, storage, and other resources, gaining access to a suite of Cloud-based elastic IT infrastructure services. The goal of this project is to migrate the Moodle application and perform heterogeneous migration of the existing database on MS SQL, to the AWS Aurora MySQL database.

The goals of this project include:

  • Move existing Moodle Infrastructure to a public cloud platform that can scale on-demand to meet business objectives.
  • Re-architect the legacy database on MS SQL and migrate to the Aurora database.
  • Build a complete Cloud-Based infrastructure to support existing infrastructure + dependencies that meet availability and scalability requirements. This infrastructure design shall also handle user traffic spikes at sporadic intervals.
  • Migration of the complete LMS infrastructure to the Public Cloud.

Customer Challenge

Performance issues while fetching data
Unable to handle the sudden traffic spikes
High website loading times
End-of-life infrastructure
Costly licenses

Why AWS?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully-featured services across data centers globally. Millions of customers including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster. Zain’s confidence in the AWS solution stems from its alignment with the organization’s core tenets as an active innovator and executor. The benefits of AWS at a glance include security, customization, pay-as-you-go pricing, simple automated scheduling, flexibility & scalability, and consistency and reliability.

Why choose KUWAITNET?

KUWAITNET has always been active in the Kuwait IT industry and helped many organizations to overcome their challenges and stay up to date with the latest technologies. During the initial stage of covid pandemic time, many of the organizations in Kuwait faced lots of challenges to run their day to day activities. Having 20+ years of experience in the IT field, KUWAITNET has extended its professional service and support to handle the challenges, especially in the educational sector to make sure that online learning is happening without fail. KUWAITNET provides thorough analysis, systematic assessment, cloud strategy, architecture design, and implementation solutions to support customers on their journey to the cloud. PAAET’s trust in KUWAITNET derives from our unique differentiators in criteria-driven solution architecture, customer-centric experience building, and efficient project management methodologies.

The Solution

To close any gaps and ensure comprehensive addressing and mapping of requirements, a preliminary analysis of the existing environment was conducted. In particular, priority was placed on safeguarding data, ensuring platform content integrity at scale, as well as deploying SSL/TLS certificates for compliance fulfilment. Additionally, auto-scaling mechanisms are put into place to emphasise elasticity capabilities. Further, and to illustrate the powerful economic value, cost-modelling schemas are built-in for monitoring usage periods to ensure the ideal provisioning of resources during peak hours. To meet the requirements of security, scalability and cost-efficiency KUWAITNET has implemented the solution on AWS using multiple services.

Base Solution:

  • KUWAITNET implemented strong Identity and Access Management using AWS IAM, cross-account roles.
  • VPC setup VPC setup with multiple segregated subnets for each layer of the architecture.
  • Database Migration Service (DMS) to migrate On-Premise MS SQL database into AWS Aurora MySQL
  • The application load balancer receives traffic and load balances it to multiple backend Web Servers distributed across multiple AZs, and the auto-scaling group to handle the traffic spikes.
  • No direct public access was provided to the servers, the access is restricted to the corporate office-specific IPs via bastion host.
  • Implemented managed database layer (RDS) with multi-AZ implementation for the high available database backend.
  • CloudWatch CloudWatch for monitoring the environment.
  • The Pay-As-You-Go model pricing model was adopted to gauge the usage pattern and to baseline the infrastructure requirements..
  • Once the baseline infrastructure is identified the next step is to reserve the baseline capacity requirements to optimize the cost.

Heterogeneous Database Migration Solution:

  • Created a temporary RDS MySQL with the version supported by their existing installed Moodle application.
  • Created a temporary EC2 with the MS SQL as the same version of the on-premises production.
  • Took dump of on-premises MS SQL database after disabling their existing LMS application. The DB dump has been copied to the S3 bucket in order to restore it to the MS SQL database in the EC2 for database migration.
  • Created and configured their existing LMS in EC2 and RDS in order to fix the AWS Aurora limitation of ‘row_fromat’ in MySQL.
  • Used AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) to migrate the on-premises MS SQL database to the EC2 MS SQL and its been migrated into the temporary RDS MySQL.
  • Selected TRUNCATE_BEFORE_LOAD while DMS data migration to empty vanilla installation data.
  • Converted MySQL RDS to Aurora MySQL.

Results and Benefits

We have successfully moved the PAAET’s on-premise Moodle application to AWS Cloud and performed a heterogeneous migration of the MS SQL database to Aurora MySQL.

  • Significant improvement in overall performance
  • No more hassle with licensing bill
  • Handled 25,000 concurrent users
  • Autoscaling infrastructure
  • Easy to stop or downgrade the instances during the vacation
  • Pay-As-You-Go model pricing

KUWAITNET continues to support and maintain PAAET’s AWS environment under a Managed Service Level Agreement, curated for this scope of work.


KUWAITNET was incorporated in 1997 with the primary goal of offering competitive and outstanding professional IT solutions to fulfill the local demand with the rise of the Internet. With modest beginnings as a web hosting company, we have grown to provide complete IT solutions including, but not limited to dedicated servers, network consulting and planning, and customized development solutions. Our foundational principles of innovation, ambition, quality, and agility drive us to guide our clients for transformational success. To showcase our commitment to continuous improvement, we have curated the KUWAITNET innovation lab, a research-driven department with the focused purpose of creating dynamic, disruptive, and visionary home-grown solutions.

By definition of the Amazon Partner Network category tiering, an Advanced Consulting Partner effectively accelerates the customer’s navigation of the AWS portfolio by designing, building and managing their solution workloads on the cloud. KUWAITNET’s attribution to this partnership category equips us with the know-how and expertise to act in a technical advisory capacity. Our exposure to a wealth of resources and programs makes us the ideal driving force for enabling customer success at every step of the process. Our AWS certified professionals are well-versed in cloud architecture design and deployment best practices. We actively conduct AWS workshop programs for our customers called Immersion Days, which will help them to understand and experience more about AWS. This program includes custom presentations, hands-on labs sessions, and many more tools to engage our customers with the AWS ecosystem elements first-hand.

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