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CASE STUDY

BUILD A BETTER LAB

RoundTower, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, worked along side a non-profit network of hospitals to evaluate Amazon as a viable lab environment. 

Note: This is a public reference case study. Some details and confidential information is omitted from this case study. Please feel free to reach out directly to your account manager for more details.

Challenges

  • Deliver a comprehensive Continuous Integration workshop and pipeline implementation for lab purposes.
  • Deliver a cost-effective, easy to use, environment what did not require the users to make changes to their own laptop environments.

Keys to Success

  • The solution should leverage Infrastructure as Code (IaC) toolsets and definitions for rapid deployment and consistent lifecycle management.
  • The solution should be optimized for minimum recurring cost.

Results

  • RoundTower delivered the workshop to provide upskilling of Kettering resources on AWS leveraging Terraform.
  • RoundTower delivered the required lab environment via a collection of Amazon EC2 instances on AWS.
  • These instances were created and configured by leveraging existing IaC tooling at Kettering, in this case Terraform.

Kettering Health

Kettering Health is a not-for-profit network of eight hospitals, Kettering College, and over 120 outpatient facilities serving southwest Ohio. 

Patients have access to high quality maternity care, state-of-the-art cancer fighting technology, Ohio’s leading heart hospital, as well as revolutionary brain and spine surgery. 

With nearly 12,000 employees and 2,100 physicians, Kettering Health is committed to transforming the healthcare experience with world class health services for every stage of life.

Culture and Processes

Kettering’s business goals require that new capabilities be delivered to employees and consumers an order of magnitude faster than historical norms.  This need for rapid delivery of new systems and functionality is balanced by constrained budgets for the IT teams, necessitating a very cost-effective solution. 

Kettering is early in their DevOps journey and, as is typical, had many questions related to the practical application of Infrastructure as Code and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery.  While not all teams have transitioned to Agile/Lean, the core team that enlisted RoundTower in this effort had.  As such, a workshop-based approach to answering these questions was preferred.

Solution

RoundTower delivered a repeatable and cost-effective Continuous Integration solution leveraging toolsets the Kettering team was already familiar (such as Jenkins, Nexus and Terraform) while introducing the team to the AWS platform, specifically EC2.  The following briefly describes our solution:

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Per our policies, we configured all accounts involved to be MFA. Kettering was new to AWS, so we made sure this policy was enforced.

AWS CloudTrail
We used CloudTrail as a mechanism for logging and debugging our lab setup. This was also a useful tool in demonstrating to Kettering that AWS offers a logging facility and how it can be used.

AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

Per normal procedure, we created a specific VPC for them so we could logically isolate components. Based on the high-level design parameters captured during the workshop, significant care was paid to ensure that least privilege access policies were followed. 

Nexus

Leveraging a Bitnami Amazon Machine Image (AMI) from the AWS Marketplace, we were able to boot a Nexus server with minimal effort.  Had we been unable to use this community edition, the setup alone would have taken hours to learn the platform, install the software, and then configure it for the particular lab.  

Jenkins

Similar to Nexus, we used an AWS Marketplace AMI for Jenkins.  Setup was trivial and only took a few minutes.  Like the Nexus AMI, we did not have to worry about installation, only the minimal configuration needed to be effective. 

Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

The VPC plus the Nexus and Jenkins instances were created using the Terraform IaC tool.  This allowed us to control instantiation and takedown of resources and therefore cost of use (which again was a particular point of sensitivity for the customer).

Lessons Learned

The ability to rapidly provision (and iterate the configuration of) lab environments allowed RoundTower resources to be more adaptive to changing customer demands as well as reinforcing the concepts being communicated in the workshop. The students were able to see in real time how these concepts could be brought to bear on a practical problem.

 

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RoundTower is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and an elite systems integrator known for providing innovative business solutions backed by timely and personable support. We provide solutions and expertise in all aspects of a companies IT infrastructure – from the application down to the hardware, and everything connected between. We help and guide customers through DevOps transformations, automation implementation, and container and Kubernetes solutions.

Although our organization has matured over the years, we have not forgotten our original goal: to be the central source of expertise in troubled times and to transform how our clients realize and deliver value from technology

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