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Leveraging AWS CI/CD Pipeline

Implementing an AWS CI/CD Pipeline for a Major Public University

Background

In this case study, we explore how a major public university faced the challenge of enabling its independent schools to leverage the AWS CI/CD pipeline for creating unique solutions. The university’s IT administrators sought automated cloud infrastructure while the central university administration aimed to ensure governance, cost control, and limitations on expensive cloud resources.

This case study outlines the proposed solution, the challenges encountered, the achieved results, and a concluding assessment.

Challenge

The major public university needed to empower its independent schools to develop and deploy unique solutions using the AWS platform. However, the IT administrators of each school desired the flexibility to provision their own cloud resources, while the central university administration sought governance and cost control over these resources. The challenge was to find a solution that would satisfy both parties and enable efficient development and deployment processes.

Proposed Solution – AWS CI/CD Pipeline

To address the challenge, the university partnered with a team of AWS experts to implement a comprehensive solution. The solution involved hosting the university’s full stack web application, Boulevard, on the AWS cloud-based services. The key objectives were:

  1. Scalability: The application needed to automatically scale to handle any workload efficiently.
  2. Automation and Guidance: The team provided automation scripts and guidance to the Boston University (BU) client for continuous improvement of the deployment process.

To achieve these goals, the following steps were taken:

  1. Creation and Automation of Cloud Infrastructure:
    • The team utilized Terraform, an Infrastructure-as-Code (IAC) tool, to create and automate the cloud infrastructure for the Flask-based application.
    • Development, staging, and production environments were provisioned to ensure seamless deployment across different stages of the application’s lifecycle.
  2. Hosting on a Serverless Platform:
    • The frontend and backend of the application were hosted on the Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), a serverless platform.
    • This choice offered flexibility, scalability, and ease of management, enabling the application to handle varying workloads efficiently.
  3. Integration with Relational Database Service (RDS):
    • The Flask-based backend application was integrated with Amazon RDS, allowing seamless data migration and efficient data management.
    • This integration ensured reliable and secure data storage for the application.
  4. AWS CI/CD Pipeline Implementation:
    • AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodePipeline were utilized to create and manage robust CI/CD pipelines.
    • These pipelines facilitated automated building, testing, and deployment of the application, reducing manual intervention and ensuring faster release cycles.

Results

The implementation of the AWS CI/CD pipeline for the university’s full stack web application yielded several significant outcomes:

  1. Efficient Provisioning and Governance:
    • The solution provided independent schools with the automated cloud provision resources enabling them to develop unique solutions.
    • The central university administration achieved its goal of governance, cost control, and limitations on expensive cloud resources, ensuring efficient resource allocation.
  2. Scalability and Workload Management:
    • The application hosted on the serverless platform, ECS, demonstrated the ability to automatically scale in response to varying workloads.
    • This scalability ensured smooth user experiences during peak periods, avoiding performance issues.
  3. Streamlined Deployment Process:
    • The AWS CI/CD pipelines implemented with AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodePipeline significantly reduced manual intervention in the deployment process.
    • Continuous integration and automated testing allowed for faster and more reliable releases, leading to enhanced productivity.

Conclusion

By partnering with AWS experts, the major public university successfully implemented an AWS CI/CD pipeline, overcoming the challenge of balancing automated cloud infrastructure for independent schools with governance and cost control from the central university administration. The solution enabled the efficient provisioning of cloud resources, scalability, and automation of the deployment process. With streamlined workflows and reliable infrastructure.

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