Cloud Provider Evaluation

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THIS ASSIGNMENT MUST BE SUBMITTED IN FOUR SEPARATE PARTS.  The first submission will be Steps 2, 3, and 4, Next will be Steps 5,6, and 7, Then Step 8, and Finally Step 9


INTRO:

Since you have become familiar with foundations of cloud computing technologies, along with their risks and the legal and compliance issues, you will now explore cloud offerings of popular cloud providers and evaluate them to recommend one that would be the best fit for BallotOnline.

In this project, you will first learn about networking in the cloud and auxiliary cloud services provided by cloud vendors. Next, you will explore cloud computing trends, best practices, and issues involved in migrating IT deployments to the cloud, as well as typical architectures of cloud deployments. Then, you will apply your findings to propose a general architecture for BallotOnline’s cloud deployment to best address the company’s business requirements.

Once you have selected a deployment architecture, you will research two leading cloud vendors: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Exploring and comparing the tools available for application migration will enable you to recommend a vendor to the executives in your final report. The final deliverable is a written report to BallotOnline management, describing the results of your research and recommending the cloud deployment architecture and the vendor for its deployment, with justification.

Your final report should demonstrate that you understand the IT needs of the organization as you evaluate and select cloud providers. The report should include your insights on the appropriate direction to take to handle the company’s IT business needs. You will also be assessed on the ability to integrate relevant risk, policy, and compliance consideration into the recommendations, as well as the clarity of your writing and a demonstration of logical, step-by-step decision making to formulate and justify your ideas.

Step 1: Research Networking and Auxiliary Services in the Cloud

The executives at BallotOnline have been impressed with your research on cloud computing thus far. While there are a variety of cloud providers (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Cloud%20Providers), BallotOnline is considering using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, two of the top providers in the market. BallotOnline's executives want you to help determine which would be the best provider for the organization.

You will start with learning about internet networking basics (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Internet%20Networking%20Basics) and cloud networking (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Cloud%20Networking). You will also research many cloud services (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Cloud%20Services) that cloud providers make available to their customers to help them take full advantage of cloud service and deployment models.

Step 2: Research Cloud Trends, Best Practices, and Migration Issues

The cloud computing revolution is redefining ways that companies of all sizes use information technology. The cloud landscape shifts rapidly, and current trends reflect this rapid pace of change. You likely got an idea about this in the last step when you conducted research on cloud architecture. Now, continue gathering information for your final report by assessing:

In a separate piece of paper Discuss: Cloud Trends and Migration Issues, and post your findings.

Post your thoughts about new trends in cloud computing as well as migration strategies for cloud deployments. Here are some possible discussion topics:

1.   Which trends in the cloud computing industry do you consider the most important?

2.   What kind of future developments in the cloud industry would benefit companies like BallotOnline the most?

3.   Considering that BallotOnline would migrate the existing application to the cloud, what elements should its migration strategy embrace?

Your discussions will be helpful in determining proposed deployment architecture as well as a cloud vendor for BallotIOnline.

Step 3: Research Typical Architectures of Cloud Deployments

In the previous step, you considered best practices and trends in the cloud industry. Next, you will have to look at the kinds of architectures needed for cloud.

Because most elements of cloud deployments are implemented in a virtualized environment controlled by software, the degree of freedom in defining your deployment of cloud reference models is unprecedented (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Cloud%20Reference%20Models). You can define the number of virtual servers required and the configuration, and even change them dynamically as needed. You can also define your virtual local area networks (LANs) and subnets, and place servers in them to implement network security requirements.

The basic cloud deployment components are cloud consumer, cloud provider, and cloud carrier, with cloud brokers and auditor as possible additions.

Typical cloud architectures  (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Typical%20Cloud%20Architectures) of cloud deployments vary from single server (suitable for proof-of-concept engagements) and multiserver architectures with various servers carrying different software components and occupying different security zones, to geographically dispersed deployments to achieve high availability, resilience, and speed of delivery. There are several issues to consider when selecting a server architecture, including cost, scalability, performance, and use of management (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Issues%20to%20Consider%20When%20Selecting%20a%20Server%20Architecture).

For this step, research the typical architectures of cloud deployments and begin to consider what might be a good fit for BallotOnline. Discuss your findings in a separate piece of paper and Discuss: Cloud Architectures.

Describe your findings about typical cloud deployment architectures. In particular, provide answers to these questions:

1.   Which features of these architectures would be difficult to implement in traditional, noncloud IT deployments?

2.   Which architectural elements would be important for the BallotOnline deployment?

3.   Which architectural elements are less important for BallotOnline?


Step 4: Propose Cloud Architecture for BallotOnline Deployment

Now that you have looked into cloud architectures, in this step, you will propose the cloud deployment architecture for BallotOnline, applying the knowledge of typical architectural elements of cloud deployment from the project's initial step. You will also consider trends and migration issues from a previous step. Your recommendation should consider the company's business requirements.

Recall that the company has an existing web application that it wants to move to the cloud, and also that the company wants to expand its business to other parts of the world. In earlier projects, you learned about and analyzed the IT business requirements for BallotOnline. Among them were demands for application and data security, data encryption, and separation for deployments overseas (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Application%20and%20Data%20Security). Also, the application should handle load peaks during election times in different regions.

Specific technical requirements state that BallotOnline is a web application, written using the popular open-source LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) software suite and the PHP application (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=PHP%20Application).

Action Item

Describe your proposed architecture by submitting a report with a drawing of the architecture (hand-drawn or computer-created) diagram and explaining its elements in a separate piece of paper.

There are some sample drawings here under typical cloud architectures to give you an idea (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Typical%20Cloud%20Architectures).

Step 5: Research AWS

You’ve described your proposed architecture and included a diagram to provide leadership a way to envision the system. Now, it’s time to look closely at the leading cloud providers to see if their services will fit BallotOnline’s needs.

Each cloud provider provides a unique profile of services, so it is good practice to compare cloud vendors and evaluate their reliability, performance, ease of use, cost, security and compliance measures. As more providers enter the marketplace, many will specialize on specific needs and use cases, making this evaluation even more critical.

In this step, you will explore AWS and assess the feasibility of this platform for deploying the architecture proposed in the previous step (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Explore%20AWS). You should also consider issues related to AWS Pricing (https://aws.amazon.com/pricing/).

Based on your research, determine to what degree AWS supports the elements of the BallotOnline business and technical requirements.

Share your thoughts in a separate piece of paper and Discuss: Amazon Web Services Feasibility

Post your findings on the features and services of AWS, including:

1.   Do you find the AWS offering feature-rich? Which features do you like the most? Do you feel there are some features missing?

2.   What features support architectural elements such as auto-scaling, load balancing, application auditing, or multigeography deployments?

3.   Does the website, tutorials, and services usage seem easy and user-friendly?

Step 6: Research Microsoft Azure

Now that you have had a chance to research AWS, it's time to explore Microsoft Azure (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Explore%20Microsoft%20Azure), another cloud provider that could be used to deploy the proposed architecture. You should also consider issues related to Microsoft Azure pricing (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/).

Based on your research, determine to what degree Microsoft Azure supports the elements of the BallotOnline business and technical requirements. Share your thoughts in a separate piece of paper and Discuss: Microsoft Azure Feasibility 

Post your findings on the features and services of Microsoft Azure, including:

1.   Do you find the Azure offering feature-rich? Which features do you like the most? Do you feel there are some features missing?

2.   What features support architectural elements like auto-scaling, load balancing, application auditing, multi-geography deployments?

3.   Does the website, tutorials, and services usage seem easy and user-friendly?

Step 7: Generate AWS Proof of Concept (POC)

With your research complete, you will now deploy a simple one-page PHP application to the AWS cloud. It will allow you to explore deployment methods, ease of use, provisioning speed, etc., for the Amazon cloud.

Action Item

As you may have already discovered in your research on AWS, it makes a cloud migration tool called Elastic Beanstalk available for customers to migrate their existing applications into the AWS cloud (https://aws.amazon.com/elasticbeanstalk/). We will use this tool to deploy your AWS proof of concept (POC) (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Proof%20of%20Concept%20(POC)).

Follow the steps in the AWS lab instructions to complete your AWS POC (https://content.umgc.edu/file/c91e7ce0-9040-442d-b244-0b511f07cbad/4/AWS%20Lab%20Instructions.pdf).

In a word single page, upload the URL linking to your application running in the AWS portal.

Step 8: Generate Azure Proof of Concept (POC)

Now that your AWS POC is complete, you can proceed with a similar POC deployment for the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Action Item

Follow the steps in the Azure lab instructions to complete your Azure POC (https://content.umgc.edu/file/c91e7ce0-9040-442d-b244-0b511f07cbad/3/MicrosoftAzureLabInstructions.html).

In a word single page, upload the URL linking to your application running in the Azure portal.


You are ready for the last step: writing the final report with recommendations on the cloud providers for the BallotOnline executives.

Step 9: Write the Final Report Evaluating AWS and Azure Providers

Now that you have completed your research, shared your ideas with colleagues, and explored the two vendors, it is time to compile your findings and recommendations for the BallotOnline executives. You may find these considerations for cloud provider selection helpful in making your decisions (https://lti.umuc.edu/contentadaptor/page/topic?keyword=Considerations%20for%20Cloud%20Provider%20Selection).

Use the Final Report Evaluating AWS and Azure Providers Template to write your report and submit your work to the classroom (https://content.umuc.edu/file/c91e7ce0-9040-442d-b244-0b511f07cbad/3/FinalReportEvaluatingAWSandAzureProvidersTemplate.docx).


Rubrics:

Check Your Evaluation Criteria

Before you submit your assignment, review the competencies below, which your instructor will use to evaluate your work. A good practice would be to use each competency as a self-check to confirm you have incorporated all of them. To view the complete grading rubric, click My Tools, select Assignments from the drop-down menu, and then click the project title.

2.2: Locate and access sufficient information to investigate the issue or problem.

2.3: Evaluate the information in a logical and organized manner to determine its value and relevance to the problem.

2.4: Consider and analyze information in context to the issue or problem.

2.5: Develop well-reasoned ideas, conclusions or decisions, checking them against relevant criteria and benchmarks.

5.4: Articulate insights to leadership on the appropriate course of direction on the identified IT business needs.

6.1: Articulate the systems architecture of the cloud - cloud infrastructure, cloud service, cloud platform, and cloud storage.

6.6: Evaluate and select cloud providers (AWS, Azure, VMware, Google Cloud, IBM).

6.8: Review, evaluate, and utilize emerging technologies related to cloud to support business needs.

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