Empowering Universities Through COVID-19
With a comprehensive COVID-19 solution for universities, ROKMETRO needed to create a solid infrastructure to host the ROKWIRE platform and begin offering services as quickly as possible.
With NTT DATA’s Build Cloud Foundations and Deploy Containers for AWS solutions, ROKMETRO accelerated the design and build of infrastructure to host the ROKWIRE platform, completing the process within weeks and addressing an immediate market need.
Seeing an immediate need for higher education to address community concerns about COVID-19, researchers at the University of Illinois developed an application called Safer Illinois to help the University with symptom checking, test locations, digital test results, exposure notification, facilities access management, COVID-19 news and guidelines and more. This summer, the University of Illinois made the application open source. ROKMETRO, a professional services firm, provides customization, integration, hosting and support services for universities to help them deploy the Safer Illinois application on the ROKWIRE open-source platform in as little as a few weeks.
To deliver the open source application to other higher education institutions, ROKMETRO needed to first build a foundation to integrate and host the ROKWIRE platform. The foundation needed to be secure and scalable to meet potentially fast-growing demand. And with an application that serves a pressing community need, it was imperative that the ROKWIRE platform be built as quickly as possible. That way the company could focus its efforts on helping universities address COVID-19 within their campus communities, rather than on technology infrastructure.
ROKMETRO wanted to build its platform in the AWS cloud, given its security, flexibility and extreme scalability. Yet, with the clock ticking for universities challenged to welcome returning students, the team knew that if it were to build the cloud foundation itself, it would not be poised to help universities in time. As a result, ROKMETRO reached out to NTT DATA’s Amazon Web Services consulting team to help it quickly build a best-practice AWS foundation that would bring the ROKWIRE platform to market in time to meet this critical need.
It starts with a foundation
NTT DATA deployed its Build Cloud Foundations solution to build an AWS foundation. The solution helps accelerate the design and build of cloud architecture by codifying architectural best practices that result in a secure, scalable and extendable cloud foundation while avoiding missteps that can lead to security risk, unscalable systems and inefficiencies that slow cloud adoption. Specifically, the Build Cloud Foundations AWS landing zone includes best practices such as:
- Security logging with AWS CloudTrail and Amazon VPC Flow Logs.
- AWS Config logs that monitor infrastructure changes for operational and security compliance.
- The use of AWS CodeCommit as a code repository, enabling changes using code for a highly repeatable deployment.
- AWS Security Hub and Amazon GuardDuty for full account visibility.
- Accelerates time to market, building upon the ROKWIRE platform within weeks
- Deploys secure AWS infrastructure
- Creates a scalable, extendable cloud foundation
- Empowers developers with a self-serve solution
- Enables changes with code via repeatability of deployments
- Achieves serverless environment with continuous deployment
Next, a container solution
In addition to building a strong cloud foundation, the NTT DATA team deployed its AWS container reference architecture, Deploy Containers for AWS. Based on automation and deployment best practices from hundreds of customer implementations, the serverless solution relies on AWS CloudFormation templates to automate deployment and configuration of AWS resources, including Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) on AWS Fargate; Amazon Route 53; AWS Secrets Manager; AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF); Amazon CloudWatch Log Groups and more.
The teams then paired the container solution with AWS Service Catalog to give ROKMETRO a self-serve developer system. The AWS Service Catalog enables a self-serve solution that empowers the ROKMETRO team to deploy new applications for universities in a consistent way, allowing them to deliver with greater standardization and consistency. In this way, ROKMETRO can now deliver the open source solution to new university customers with both speed and quality.
“What we needed was a way to quickly address the market demand as we simultaneously spun up the business,” says Linda Reinhard, Chief Revenue Officer, ROKMETRO. “With the NTT DATA solution, we were able to go from nothing just a few months ago to being able to fully and immediately engage the market.”
Making deployment reliable
As part of the solution, NTT DATA built an application pipeline to consistently build, test and promote an application through to production. Using AWS CodePipeline, the Continuous Deployment (CD) process includes automated performance testing to ensure scalability of code promoted to production. ROKMETRO benefits from the ability to automatically move tailored versions of its application to production through ephemeral pipelines, allowing it to shrink the time it takes for an application to reach production.
“NTT DATA helped ROKMETRO create a set of best practices, rooted in AWS technologies that will allow the company to bring new ROKWIRE adoptees to the cloud much faster than if we had built the solution on our own,” says Sanjay Patel, ROCKMETRO’s chief technology officer. “Enabled by a continuous deployment model for both the mobile application and server-side, we are now empowered to deploy quickly and efficiently, allowing universities to immediately begin taking advantage of the ROKWIRE platform.”
Serving communities at scale
Starting with the Safer Illinois application and adopting a mantra to empower universities to build smart connected communities, ROKMETRO has gone on to offer a comprehensive COVID-19 solution to universities in just a few months. With NTT DATA’s help, ROKMETRO achieved a serverless environment with CD in just a few weeks. ROKMETRO effectively integrated and hosted the ROKWIRE platform just in time for the critical back-to-school season. The company now has a safe, scalable cloud foundation for the ROKWIRE platform that allows it to focus on hosting and customisation, seamlessly serving university communities.
ROKMETRO integrates and hosts a COVID-19 application for universities within weeks, using the open-source ROKWIRE platform with Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud best practice infrastructure.