NS Azure Migration

By 9 January 2023

How do you change the wheels from under a running train (or bike)?

The challenge

“How do you change the wheels from under a running train?” When working for NS, you automatically end up with a lot of train metaphors, but in this case it was actually the bicycle rentals service that was at stake. NS Stations marked the FRAME application that we built with them as a ‘crown-jewel’, which (among other things) meant they wanted to pull the hosting in-house to consolidate with other NS applications. 

, INFO and NS together migrated FRAME from the INFO hosting facilities to the NS Azure Cloud, with minimal interruption to the OV-fiets rental and bike parking processes. 

ov fiets platform tech

Like a rocket...

The solution

We approached this migration as a two-stage rocket. There are A LOT of third-parties connected to the system and getting them aligned to connect to the Cloud all at once was an impossible task. So, stage one was to put an NS API Gateway in between. This way each third-party could connect to this new Gateway and we could later use the Gateway as a switchboard during the actual migration. 

A good start is half the work

When preparing for a project of this size, we start with creating a highlevel estimation in which all elements in play are brought to light, without focusing too much on details. Of course, there is never one way to reach your destination, so we also mark and estimate the different approaches, to have those available along the way. With all information on the table, we create a plan (or actually multiple), one being the before mentioned two-stage rocket.  

With the plan in hand, multiple teams were formed. On the side of NS, the stakeholders (like the third-parties) were handled by one team, while our team consisting of INFO and NS people started preparing the ‘internal’ migration. Although we love Scrum, sometimes it’s not the right tool for the job. So we built a backlog and started using Kanban to pick up and finish the tasks. Once the team felt comfortable enough, they started doing migration dry-runs. First on test environments, but later up to production.  

With all stakeholders on board, the third-parties on the Gateway and sufficient confidence in the team from all the dry-runs, a night in September was planned to execute the actual migration, from an NS office in Utrecht. And even though the network went down in the building just as we were finishing the migration (you can’t plan everything), the migration went smoothly and the morning (rental and parking) traffic did not even notice they had switched to the cloud overnight. 

In short:

Icoon quote

INFO handled the migration in a very professional manner. I never had to worry for a single moment during the entire process and always felt that the team were in control. Nice to see how INFO put the customer’s interests first and provided really good advice.” – Rob Cuperus, IT Lead NS Stations – Chain Services

Icoon quote
  • 15 months of preparations 
  • 200 user stories 
  • 9 dry-runs  
  • lots and lots of snacks 
  • FRAME is now running in Azure, which is a completely different hosting situation, but users won’t even notice.The team is constantly monitoring the system and making small improvements as part of their continuous improvement cycle.

Your projectour next challenge?

Hoite Polkamp

Business Development Manager


+31 (0)20 530 9100


Get in touch

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