University of Arizona and The Burgundy Group, Inc. Take an Infrastructure-on-Demand Approach for Arizona’s PeopleSoft Migration to AWS
University of Arizona (Arizona) engaged The Burgundy Group, Inc. (TBGI) to migrate their
PeopleSoft Campus Solutions (CS), Human Capital Management (HCM), and Enterprise
Learning Management (ELM) applications to the AWS Cloud beginning in July 2015.
Arizona commenced their Mosaic project in 2007. The Mosaic project was organized to replace
numerous Arizona mainframe based administrative applications with delivered, enterprise
applications. Among the applications selected for implementation were PeopleSoft CS, HCM,
After completion of the Mosaic project, TBGI had been selected to provide PeopleSoft and other
Mosaic application support and administration services. By 2015, it was time for a hardware
refresh but TBGI was recommending that, rather than gather requirements and procure
hardware for Arizona’s own datacenters, Arizona migrate the PeopleSoft and other Mosaic
applications to the cloud.
Arizona had already determined to embrace the cloud and decided to migrate their PeopleSoft and other Mosaic applications to the AWS Cloud. Furthermore, Arizona had a very clear vision for the migration. AWS functionality was to be considered infrastructure on demand and application environments were to be designed and constructed such that components or entire environments would be available on demand.
Arizona was insistent on using delivered AWS functionality whenever possible in the new architecture. TBGI fully embraced Arizona’s approach and in addition created a set of PeopleSoft-application-specific automations to manage the migrated environments in the AWS Cloud.
Established Architecture and Proprietary Tools
TBGI created a standard architecture and a set of environment management automations (Smart EMS) during the migration of Arizona’s PeopleSoft applications. The standardized architecture was made possible by a combination of CloudFormation templates and Docker containers combined with TBGI’s proprietary event engine (Envy), a component of Smart EMS.
Envy coordinates and monitors both AWS-delivered and TBGI-custom services to create and manage the PeopleSoft environments. This approach means that all PeopleSoft environments, including production, are reliable, consistent, and ephemeral. All environments can be managed, on a one-time or scheduled basis, using Smart EMS functionality.
Every Fall and Spring, Arizona’s priority registration process exhibits a 15-minute window during which traffic increases from an average of 75 concurrent users to more than 4,000 concurrent users. Using TBGI’s proprietary tools and AWS’ scheduled autoscaling feature we are able to accommodate this increase, which occurs as students log in to register for their preferred classes. TBGI and Arizona together developed the architecture that enables us to double the size of the database server and increase, by up to 8 times, the number of web and application servers so that our students can complete their registrations without delay or interruption. The additional infrastructure is spun up 3 hours before priority registration begins and left in place for 16 hours when we return to our normal profile. This flexibility allows us to provide the level of service our students demand while keeping our hosting costs at the bare minimum.Mark Felix, Director: SIS, Collaboration and Academic Technologies, University of Arizona
The finished product was a validation of Arizona’s vision. There were zero issues reported after each of the ELM, HCM and CS go lives. In addition, Smart EMS provides the following functionality:
- Scaling – AWS Auto Scaling functionality accommodates small changes in traffic without manual intervention. Smart EMS increases or decreases, to prepare for larger anticipated changes in traffic, the number and type of web, application and other services used to create application environments on demand or as scheduled.
- Launch – Non-production environments can be relaunched, on a scheduled or manual basis, shortly before needed. Shutting down non-production environments, during non-business hours, results in significant infrastructure savings.
- Shut down – By specifying only a very few parameters, Smart EMS can shut down an environment. If a backup is requested, this artifact and the metadata needed to differentiate various environments will be the only things remaining after an environment is shut down.
- Lifecycle management – Patches, PUMs, and PeopleSoft application version upgrades that alter the state of the database must use traditional methods to make changes to the database.
- Server upgrades – Server software is upgraded by revising Dockerfiles to show the current version of the software.
- Database upgrades – Upgrade the database by simply calling the new version of the Amazon RDS database.
- Database refreshes – Refreshing a database requires specifying a source database and/or snapshot or creating a new snapshot, specifying a target database, and scheduling or launching the refresh.
- Database backups – Perform backup tasks according to your backup policy by simply specifying the frequency for backups and the number of backups to be retained.
- Monitoring and alerts – Smart EMS subscribes to TBGI automations and AWS system events and defines a set of rules for triggering alarms.
- Disaster recovery – Smart EMS uses designated snapshots to launch a disaster recovery environment when needed.
- Scheduling – All Smart EMS functionalities can be kicked off manually or scheduled.
Arizona is a public land-grant research university in Tucson, Arizona. Founded in 1885 by the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature, it was the first university in the Arizona Territory. Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity.” Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona has 51,134 students enrolled in 19 separate colleges/schools.
Established in 1998, TBGI provides PeopleSoft application, Oracle database and AWS infrastructure managed and consulting services. TBGI proprietary tools include a set of PeopleSoft environment management automations for the AWS cloud, Smart EMS. Smart EMS can (on a one-time or scheduled basis) launch, terminate, back up, refresh, up scale, down scale, apply operating system (OS) and PeopleTools patches, and monitor PeopleSoft environments in the AWS Cloud.