How a global pharma company migrated 3,000 Kubernetes environments and cut application delivery costs by 60%

How a global pharma company rapidly migrated 3,000 Kubernetes environments to Amazon EKS and cut application delivery costs by 60%


A global top 20 pharmaceutical company needed more cost-effective, easier-to-manage infrastructure to develop, test, and publish hundreds of websites. Using automated migration capabilities customized in Lagoon, helped the pharma efficiently move 3,000 Kubernetes environments from Red Hat OpenShift on AWS to Amazon EKS over two weekends, resulting in simpler maintenance and 60% cost savings.

Moving to more manageable, less costly infrastructure

The pharmaceutical company ran 800 promotional websites, using managed services from Lagoon (a web application delivery platform for Kubernetes) and Red Hat OpenShift on AWS (ROSA) for infrastructure. The development team published dozens of new Laravel, Drupal, and Node.js websites each month, and deploying them on ROSA became too costly and difficult to maintain.

“Red Hat OpenShift on AWS is a nightmare to manage. It’s much harder and more cumbersome, even for something as easy as just setting up the appropriate permissions to access a cluster,” said Blaize Kaye, Developer Experience Engineer at “It drove our costs up because we have to do so much more outside of our normal day-to-day tasks to maintain a cluster.”

This complexity and extra maintenance were one of the reasons that the pharmaceutical company decided to make the switch to, but it wasn't the only one. The company was using multiple technologies, programming languages, and frameworks, and each required its own hosting provider and processes, adding to the staff's workload. supports a wide variety of technologies on the same infrastructure, so it was possible to move all of their workloads to a single provider. What's more, those workloads could be containerized, which was something that was becoming standard practice internally.

In addition, because uses open source, the company wasn't locked in; at any time they can move their workloads to another provider, or to their own AWS account. also made it possible to host applications in mainland China, which was important for the pharmaceutical company's global footprint. convinced the pharma to migrate directly to Amazon EKS, which would simplify infrastructure maintenance and dramatically lower application delivery costs to better support future expansion.

 “We showed the pharma how they could grow exponentially to their heart’s content on AWS EKS for less than half the cost they were paying for ROSA.” – Bobby Kindle, Technical Account Manager,

Self-service migration

Engineers at made moving easy by creating a custom task in Lagoon to automate the migration process. “We wanted to figure out how to make this migration as simple as possible for the customer,” Kindle said. “Our goal was to develop something that allowed customers to migrate sites themselves, without relying on us.”

Lagoon users can now launch a full migration with the click of a button.

Lagoon users can now launch a full migration with the click of a button, without having to worry about technical details like GraphQL, APIs, or Ansible, or integrate an external system to manage the migration, which is typically required. Using the custom task on the dashboard, it took the Pharma company only one weekend to seamlessly migrate 2,100 developer environments from ROSA to EKS themselves. Months later, during the second migration phase, 900 production, staging, and QA environments were migrated to EKS, again, all over a single weekend. That’s just 48 hours.


The ability to do these migrations themselves, with just a click of a button, was a game-changer for the pharma organization, because it meant they could do things on their own terms. Additionally, any user at the company can easily start a migration - not just someone with technical skills. 

A few sites were not ready for migration, so shared access to the custom task with the pharma’s IT staff, who could migrate the remaining sites on their own whenever they were ready.

 “The fact that we can hand the custom task over to the customer to run their own migrations is awesome,” Kaye said. “Any support employee can now run something as technical as a cluster migration by just clicking a button on the dashboard, and the migration will happen seamlessly in the background.”

As a bonus, the custom task can be reconfigured and reused to migrate to other infrastructure, in case the pharma decides to later transfer environments away from EKS.

Empowering customers to create custom automations

While initially created the custom task feature in Lagoon for its own support team, the company wanted to also give customers the flexibility to optimize Lagoon for their own needs. opened up the feature, and the pharma created its own custom tasks for database synching and dumping.

The way that we’ve abstracted and packaged everything up with custom tasks truly demonstrates the flexibility of Lagoon to automate really interesting functions for our clients. – Blaize Kaye, Developer Experience Engineer,

Besides database synching and dumping, customers have also created custom tasks for antivirus scans, accessibility tests, and database cleanup.

Overall, migrating from ROSA to EKS has been a big win for both the pharma company and The pharma seamlessly migrated 3,000 environments, gained self-service capabilities for additional migrations, and saved 60% in application delivery costs. benefited from simpler day-to-day maintenance for Kubernetes clusters, little to no labor required from team members for the remaining migrations, and the satisfaction of seeing a customer thrive with Lagoon in new, creative ways.

Read another case study about a customer using Lagoon with Amazon EKS.

Interested in seeing results like these for your company? We can show you how it’s done, and what your results might look like for your team. Meet with our ZeroOps/Kubernetes experts today for a free technical demo, and we’ll show you how much time and money you could save with Book a technical demo with our team today.

Published: April 17, 2023

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