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Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) is a government body with a corporate identity. Managed by a board of directors chaired by the country’s Minister of Labour, LMRA caters to 55% of the population with 8.7 million visitors to Bahrain annually. It regulates the labor market by strategizing and controlling work permits for expatriate employees and self-employed, in addition to issuing licenses to manpower and recruitment agencies.

In a fast-changing world, the impact of emerging technologies on the public sector is inevitable. Many governments are now relying on next-gen services for better access to information and improved efficiency and decision-making processes. The citizens too expect accessible and customized services. To meet these expectations, authorities need to secure the flow of data and protect people’s privacy while providing a reliable infrastructure.

LMRA uses a fully integrated system to provide world-class and fast services to users, reinforcing the one-stop-shop concept among the government agencies to facilitate employers. Moreover, it also provides data to officials at airports and seaports for ensuring a well-managed expatriate entry into the country.

  • The existing application, running on a 10-year-old IBM Mainframe, was not able to perform efficiently with growing volumes of data.

  • The system also lacked the agility required to respond to potential business in the new marketplace realities.

  • The operational expenditure and recurring license cost to run this platform was high as it used on-premise servers.

Designing a multi-phased cloud journey for scalability, security, and compliance

LMRA decided to respond to new technology opportunities and adhere to the market’s growing needs. It reached out to TCS as its trusted transformation partner. TCS proposed a multi-phased cloud migration to enable a better integrated and more efficient system while maintaining a high level of security. TCS conducted a detailed on-premise assessment of the Mainframe system for application migration, security, performance and reliability. They also looked at the validation of the migration strategy and right sizing following multiple proof of concepts and proposed migration to the new AWS platform.

Various data and application in IBM Mainframe were migrated and AWS cloud, many native services such as Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) were commissioned at the target site. Cost-effective storage and archiving solution was leveraged using Amazon S3 Glacier/ Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive. Fully automated backup management using custom scripts, AWS Backup Service and Amazon S3 snapshots were put in place. Multiple copies of synchronous and asynchronous data base replication were used to achieve near-zero Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).

Setting the stage for future transformation

The migration of LMRA from Mainframe to AWS is very critical to the Bahrain government as the success of this project will pave the way for all future migrations. Consequently, it initiated the building of AWS foundation on cloud keeping in mind scalability, security, and compliance. An external application integration was secured through wide-area network. This was later followed by the migration process including re-platforming the mainframe components on AWS platform, and replacing it with AWS components. Multiple security, performance, and reliability tests were conducted during this migration phase. The entire implementation was completed with less than 12 hours of downtime.

On a financial scale, the operating expenses decreased by 50%. In numbers, the response time improved seven fold and the agility of the system 95%. Outdated systems were replaced with upgraded system practices creating an engaging user experience. The security measures adapted during and after the migration were compliant with government regulations. This cloud migration paved the way for future technology refresh. With less infrastructure complexity, the new system has become highly adaptable and will allow optimizing services to meet demands. It will enable the authorities to react quickly and innovate smoothly.

At a macro level, cloud computing will help centralize facilities, enhance human capital and utilize resources efficiently. LMRA is now catering to the largest cloud-based database of expatriates in the Middle East.

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