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The contents of this report are based on the assessment of the management requirements and the existing service level agreement (SLA) provisions of Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS provides a user friendly, flexible, and cost-effective cloud computing platform. Amazon Web Services have well defined best practices policy that an organization in this case, Department of Spatial Information (DSI) will have to follow so as to benefit from the cloud computing platform. AWS recommends that for an organization to be contented with the cloud computing services offered by different vendors, it is necessary that they consider carrying out an operational assessment before the launch of its application in this case, Online Spatial Delivery Services (OSDS) to the cloud computing platform. This can effectively be done using different operations checklists. The general operational checklists provided by Amazon Web Services include; the basic operations checklist that will enable DSI to evaluate the specific services and features of OSDS application before launching it on the cloud computing platform. The other operational checklist is the enterprise operations checklist which will help the DSI to establish an effective cloud migration and operation strategy before moving its application to the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform.
In general this report has outlined various AWS cloud computing requirements that DSI will have to consider before moving its OSDS to the platform. The assessment of these requirements will cover remote administration, application resilience, and resource management among other requirements. The report has also outlined a summary of the benefits and risks associated with the use of a cloud computing platform.
This refers to the process of managing and controlling a computer from a distant (remote) location. The need to have more systems that are remotely controlled has been on the rise and this has led to an increase in the development of software that can be used to a system from a distance. To achieve this, an organization should consider having an effective network access strategy.
Computer systems hosting the Online Service Delivery System need to be connected via the internet so that they can be remotely managed and controlled. This will involve enabling the application on the client system and the IP address assigned to the host or the serve should be known.
Based on Morad and Dalbhanjan’s operational checklist, DSI will have to ensure that there is connectivity from the organization’s environment to Amazon Web Services. Therefore, an organization should ensure that it has the required hardware and software before moving to a cloud computing platform. AWS provides a variety of connectivity options that an organization can choose from. For instance, AWS recommends the use of two connectivity options that is, high availability option and fault tolerance. This ensures that the Online Service Delivery System is always running regardless of a fault occurring.
In this case, therefore, for effective remote administration the DSI network access strategy should consider the following AWS requirements;
This is the effective utilization of an organization’s available resources so that the stated objectives can be achieved. In this case, DSI should have an effective resource management strategy for the assets used in deploying OSDS on a AWS cloud computing platform. The strategy should be based on the Morad and Dalbhanjan’s asset management operational checklist.
This operational checklist requires an organization to have an effective mechanism of tracking and managing the resources deployed on AWS. This will consider the following;
Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlines the terms of contract between a service provider such as AWS and a client in this case DSI (Fankhauser & Schweikert, 2000, p.345). It is necessary to develop an SLA to be able to evaluate the performance and quality of services provided by a vendor. The performance of a cloud computing vendor may be measured in terms of; how available is the system, and the response time of the system (Wieder, Butler, Theilmann,& Yahyapour, 2011, p.809). DSI should consider the provisions outlined in the Amazon Web service SLA before using its cloud computing platform.
This is defined as the ability of an application to handle a failure in one of its existing components so that service provision is not impaired. This means that the application will still be running in the event of a failure occurring. It is therefore necessary for DSI to consider checking whether the Online Service Delivery is resilient enough before deploying it on the cloud computing platform. There are a lot of considerations for high availability (HA). This is done through the provision of different infrastructure building blocks that an organization such as DSI can consider implementing in its OSDS application. To achieve high availability, DSI application resilience strategy should include; the use of various availability zones within a given location, implementation of instance redundancy, and monitoring and recovery among other considerations. OSDS should have a mechanism of identifying and evaluating existing points of failure within a system so as that the system’s availability is not impaired. The high availability strategy should not only define how a system will be recovered in case of failure but it should also outline the kind of testing to be conducted.
Some of the Amazon Web Services considerations for high availability include;
Backup refers to the process of safely keeping a copy of the files or databases so that no data is lost in case of system failure. This is usually done on a routine basis and as such DSI should consider having an effective backup system for the Online Service Delivery System before its launch on the cloud computing platform.
On the other hand, disaster recovery describes the available security measures adopted by an organization to protect it from any negative effect (Velte, Velte & Elsenpeter, 2009, p.781). Negative effect includes operations that endanger the activities of an organization such as cyber attacks, or system failure. Hence, DSI should develop a disaster recovery plan that will minimize the disruption of service once the OSDS application is launched on the cloud computing platform. In this case, the disaster recovery strategy should be based on the point of recovery and the time of recovery need to be outlined. Restrictions based on the distance between the main site and recovery site need to be well outlined in the recovery strategy. The disaster recovery strategy should not only outline how the system will be recovered but should also outline the testing procedures to be conducted so that the system is restored back to its initial state of operation. According to AWS operational checklist, a well-developed disaster recovery strategy will include; regional redundancy, and region-to-region recovery among other aspects.
To use the AWS cloud computing platform, DSI should considered the following Amazon Web Services and techniques while developing the OSDS disaster recovery strategy;
Based on Earl’s SLA guidelines, an effective Service Level Agreement should include the following items (Grzech, Rygielski, & ÅšwiÄ…tek, 2010, p.623);
Using the above guidelines, Amazon Web Services has developed an effective SLA to ensure that its client benefit from its cloud services. The Amazon Web Service SLA provides the following;
This governs various policies that are used for billing and account governance. The policy is also used to determine the network access strategy for an organization (Murty, 2008, p.203)
This is used to describe the policy used in Amazon Simple Storage Service (“Amazon S3”) based on the terms outlined in AWS Customer Agreement. This outlines the data protection mechanism.
This describes the policy that governs the use of Amazon CloudFront as outlined in the AWS Customer Agreement (Robinson, 2008, p.456). The policy is used to determine how the contents will be distributed.
The policy is used to govern the path to be used while exchange data over a network. It can also be used in outlining the data recovery strategy for a given organization.
The policy is used to govern the issues involving storage of data. In addition, the policy is also used to determine the data access strategy.
In general, Amazon Web Services has clearly outlined the above SLA policies that an organization should consider before using their cloud services.. It is therefore, important for DSI to consider all these policies before launching its OSDS on the AWS cloud computing platform.
Amazon Web Service is a well established cloud service provider that offers a lot of benefits to its clients. In this case, if DSI decides to use AWS cloud computing platform to launch its OSDS application, it will have access to a wide range of opportunities such as security and data access, asset management, high availability, and data recovery strategies. Using cloud computing platform will reduce the organization’s operation cost (Catteddu, 2010, p.10).
However, the use of cloud services is associated with various risks such as data unavailability in case of system failure, loss of confidential data where the security is breached, and the business may be impaired where the vendor lacks reliable recovery plan.
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