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Stolt-Nielsen on their journey towards well-architected Azure platform.

Nuwey helped Stolt-Nielsen solidify their cloud adoption journey.

Stolt-Nielsen logo

Stolt-Nielsen was looking for a dependable and trustworthy partner with extensive knowledge of Azure & DevOps and a successful history of cloud transformation projects to design a consolidation strategy that offers cost-efficient and automated management of workloads, optimal utilisation of resources and modern security.

Consolidating workloads and resources in the cloud becomes a strategic imperative. The main drivers are enhanced operational efficiency, reduced cost, and improved security. This case study outlines Stolt-Nielsen’s objective – a comprehensive assessment of the current state, followed by a landing zone design of the future Azure platform and an optimal consolidation path to reach it by leveraging Microsoft's Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF), Well-Architected Framework (WAF), and the Zero Trust approach.

Client Background

Stolt-Nielsen are the world’s largest operator of sophisticated chemical tankers, a global provider of safe storage services for bulk liquids, and the leading provider of door-to-door transportation services for bulk-liquid chemicals and food-grade products. Along with that they are also pioneers in high-tech sustainable seafood production and investors in LNG shipping and distribution opportunities. Established back in 1959, Stolt-Nielsen runs 4 global businesses and operates in 30 countries providing work for appx. 7000 employees. For more than 60 years, the Stolt-Nielsen name has been synonymous with delivering exceptional services in bulk-liquid logistics, distribution, and high-quality aquaculture products.

Historically the company has been following the traditional model of operating their IT environment, i.e., relying predominantly on network isolation and network equipment for security. In 2018 Stolt-Nielsen started adopting cloud services by mirroring the on-premises environment into Azure cloud. As a result, the company applied in Azure the same on-premises IT practices and architecture which in the next 4 years started becoming a bottleneck for the business growth.

Due to the ever-increasing usage of cloud services and the company’s strategic direction to transition to Azure, Stolt-Nielsen decided to reconsider its cloud adoption strategy and to align it with the modern cloud practices while at the same time achieve increased agility to support the dynamic and complex business needs of the company. This initiative becomes a prolusion for global consolidation and security hardening of Azure cloud.

Nuwey as a trusted partner was nominated to help Stolt-Nielsen with their cloud adoption strategy and consolidation planning.

“We chose to work with Nuwey because of the confidence they inspired. Their experience and capabilities became clear in the first conversation I had with Asen. I don’t often experience such a level of quality and focus on our success with our vendors.”

Erik Visser

Director, BT Architecture & Engineering, Stolt-Nielsen

Customer Requirements

  • Operational Efficiency. The company has been investing heavily in automation of cloud workloads but sought to further streamline its landscape by centralising resources and reducing management complexity. This includes optimising workloads, enhancing automation, and improving overall system performance. 

  • Enhanced Security. Security is a top priority for Stolt-Nielsen and the company has gone a long way in adopting Zero Trust. But external vendors like Nuwey must ensure and confirm that the Azure landscape adheres to this robust security framework and its principles.

  • Compliance and Governance. Stolt-Nielsen’s cloud operations must comply with industry standards and regulatory requirements. Thus, alignment with the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) and Well-Architected Framework (WAF) is a must to implement best practices for governance, risk management, and compliance.

  • Scalability and Flexibility. One of the main requirements was to design a cloud platform that could scale with Stolt-Nielsen’s business growth and could adapt to changing demands. This includes the ability to quickly deploy new services and applications using infrastructure as code methods while maintaining high availability and optimal performance.

  • Cost Optimisation. With rising cloud expenses, Stolt-Nielsen aims to achieve long-term cost savings through better resource allocation, eliminating redundancies, and adopting FinOps best practices for cloud cost management.

Results and Benefits

This case study demonstrates the value of designing future-proof and secure Azure platforms that enable automated deployments and management of workloads via infrastructure as code processes and DevOps. Cost management and alignment with CAF, WAF, and Zero Trust further leads to a more efficient, cost-effective, and secure cloud environment.

By leveraging Nuwey’s expertise and Stolt-Nielsen’s business needs the team produced a solution that meets all technical and business, functional and non-functional requirements with particular focus on:

  • Identity and Access Management

  • Resource Organisation

  • Network Topology & Connectivity

  • Security

  • Platform Management

  • Governance

  • Platform Automation

  • Billing & Cost Management

Azure Platform Architecture

Stolt-Nielsen and Nuwey designed together a highly secure and scalable platform with the following key characteristics:

  • EA Departments for cost distribution.

  • Management Groups structure aligned to the reference CAF enterprise scale design for governance.

  • Resource organisation based on the “Subscription Model”:

    • Subscription per workload for budget allocation.

    • Resource groups to organise resources within a workload.

  • Entra ID groups for division level RBAC management.

  • Automated provisioning with subscription vending process based on the GitOps model:

    • Request new subscriptions and provision them as Landing Zones.

    • Create workload identity to be used by DevOps and grant necessary permissions on subscription level.

Subscription Vending

"Throughout our collaboration, Asen and his team demonstrated strong problem-solving skills and high level of adaptability”said Filip Czaja, Architect. “Their attention to detail and commitment to quality made them an invaluable partner. It was a real pleasure to work with such a group of talented professionals.”

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