Welcome!

Search Authors: Jnan Dash, Shelly Palmer, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, GovIT

Cloud Expo: Article

DevOps: Enabling Web Business Evolution

The RFP for Elections Canada provides the ideal blueprint for planning the development of Cloud provider services.

The RFP for Elections Canada provides the ideal blueprint for planning the development of Cloud provider services.

It typifies the majority of potential clients that web hosting providers can address, and describes exactly the technical enhancements they're looking for to begin the move from a traditional web hosting approach to a new Cloud computing paradigm, and broader set of MSP services.

Elections Canada is an ideal product development blueprint because they're atypical of the market as a whole. They launched their web presence in the mid 90's with simple HTML, and then began enhancing it with custom .net code to add in more interactive functionality. Since then it's grown organically into an estate of over 16Gb of ASP, HTML pages and 6,500 PDF files. As they state the design of this environment has now remained unchanged for almost 10 years, and so a Cloud computing inspired modernization of the entire approach is what they're looking for.

Thousands of other organizations have undergone exactly the same journey and are currently in the same position, so a solution modelled for one is a product development cycle for them all.

Our Cloud MSP service provides this product innovation as an outsourced function.

Legacy 2 Cloud
As a web site for voter elections, Elections Canada is also the poster child for the core value of a Cloud computing approach. On that one election day their web site receives a spike of traffic that accounts for almost a third of their traffic for the entire year.

Their monthly rate is 200,000 visits but on the polling day this rockets to 700,000 for that one day alone. Out of a total 2.4m hits per annum, almost 30% occur within one day, meaning their web site infrastructure must be large enough able to cater for a traffic ceiling of 700,000 hits, but on every other day experience a demand that is barely 1% of this.

That's a lot of equipment to sit idle for 364 days of the year, and so now they're looking to exploit the Cloud trend and address this. The fundamental value of Cloud computing is of course that its elastic, so they can migrate to an environment that can scale to this level but only when needed on these rare occasions. For the remaining time they only pay for what they use at the much lower levels.

EC states requirements for:

"a computing capacity-on-demand operating model"

"develop cloud computing capabilities; which support not only infrastructure capacity improvements but also provides new and emerging opportunities that leverage application level revitalization using a flexible and dynamic provisioning model"

"develop value-added services to support current and future development projects, pilots, proof-of-concepts and other web business initiatives"

The core hosting requirements are to meet their infrastructure needs. This is a hosted environment of 25 servers, and an additional 7 servers run internally for development staging. This combined farm runs Windows Advanced Server 2000, with another two running HP-UX and Solaris for dissemination server and firewalls, and private VPN connections between data-centres. 22 HP, Cisco and Nokia devices are used for firewalls, load balancing and switching.

DevOps: Web Business Evolution
While Cloud computing will address this core infrastructure need in a more efficient, utility manner, it's the higher layer of the apps they run where the potential lies for strategic differentiation and value add.

Their site operates through a variety of custom software modules being developed, predominately on .net, C# and Javascript, and not only does it cater for the main web site but also a number of specific business processes for how the organization works too.

This includes smaller app functions, like 'Political parties fiscal returns' and 'Candidates contributions and expenses' through to significant business workflows, like the ENR System - Election Night Results, which manages the process of Returning Officers uploading voting results, and the VIS - Voter Information Service, which enables citizens to self-service their requests for more information on their local activities.

These types of apps demonstrate where the strategic opportunity is for hosting providers. Elections Canada now sees itself as a "web business", meaning their primary business processes are executed through the context of their web site, and they want a new level of platform to enhance this capability.

They describe this as "Web Business Evolution", citing examples of projects they're working including a 'FAST' Project - Field Application Systems Transformation, where new web applications will be deployed to support new ways of working for the Returning Officers, an eRegistration Project where voters can self-service validate their voter registration records, and the big daddy of them all: iVoting - online election voting.

Therefore they're not just in the market for web hosting facilities, but for an entirely new business systems architecture.

Ultimately the key to this requirement is 'DevOps' - An integrated development, operations and quality control framework. Elections Canada describe their vision of this as their Application DEF - Delivery Environment Framework, and how it requires an underlying Multi-Tier System Architecture to be realized.

Via a Web Services Reference Model this will provide the common building block components like Identity Authentication that will underpin these new web applications, and ADC - Application Delivery Controller, that enables this functionality as part of an optimized hardware level capability that also delivers SSL VPN connectivity, L4 load balancing, L7 content switching, XML brokering and an application XML firewall.

Part V - New Services|
Elections Canada states their appetite for these new technologies and furthermore, a much broader suite of services on an ongoing basis that goes well beyond that of web hosting, what would be considered MSP - Managed Service Provider. They start with a high level statement of interest in:

- "advanced data storage capabilities, new telco services, emerging mobile computing platforms".

and follow with a list of other value add services they would consider buying in the future, ranging through managed email and collaboration, content and document management, office productivity tools, file storage and secure remote access, amongst many others.

In short, this Elections Canada RFP represents a complete blueprint for an end-to-end Cloud MSP product strategy.

More Stories By Cloud Ventures

The Cloud Ventures Network is an expert community of leading Cloud pioneers. Follow our best practice blogs at http://CloudBestPractices.net

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.