Decreasing Big Data onboarding time by 50%

Experts at Adastra create an architectural framework to onboard Big Data for a multinational company, Sun Life Financial Canada.

Sun Life Financial:

Sun Life Financial operates as one of the oldest and largest life insurance corporations in the world. Having prevailed in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries its roots extend to the continents of South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, employing just over 30,000 and offering various financial services. Sun Life knew it was time to accumulate and house their Big Data all in one central area. By building their own EDL (Enterprise Data Lake), information would be organized and easily accessible. Sun Life had all of the right tools and infrastructure; all of the ingredients necessary to make it work with no recipe to follow and no way to implement their resources. It took two failed attempts at internally building an EDL before going on a hunt for a process (or architecture) that would allow them to operate at a faster rate, on a larger scale and with significant progression.


When Sun Life approached our Big Data experts with a request to create an architectural prototype we responded with an enthusiastic ‘yes!’, excited to help. Our experts put their great minds together and experts came up with a strategy to utilize a process ingesting small files into Hadoop- essentially the recipe our client required, to follow through on their EDL plan. Adastra worked on building the architecture while a second group applied the proof of concept, using Informatica Big Data Edition to load the data files. Ensuring we remained on track with our plan, we provided the deliverables to Sun Life on a bi-weekly basis for verification, allowing for completion in just over a month. Our Big Data experts were given a 12-month timeframe to finish a detailed reference architecture, outlining various functions of the EDL tool. During its development, we onboarded the next set of data into Hadoop. We wanted to progress with 100% efficiency and decided to build a platform to ingest further data sets, so Sun Life could begin adapting to the platform. The onboarding steps had to correspond with the reference architecture to ensure it worked. And it did.


As with any project, there were bumps and bruises along the way however our experts were prepared. Our biggest challenge lay in the difficulty of simultaneously guiding Sun Life through the architectural journey while creating it and ingesting the data into Hadoop successfully. We had to be certain the requirements were met and included our client in our process of building the reference architecture. We pondered questions, which dug deep into the similarities and differences of datasets, their functionalities and processing methods.


Sun Life knew they could depend on our Big Data experts for a resolution. Our insightful intuition and proactive ability generated rapid results, saving them from turmoil. Through our diligence and methodical approach towards developing the architecture prototype, creating an overall framework of the roadmap and onboarding the datasets we were able to reduce the total time allocated for onboarding from 12 months to 6 months!

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