Cloud Computing at Ad Astra

Written by Steve Oden on Monday, 23 July 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

Cloud Computing at Ad Astra

 

Cloud computing is all the rage in the IT world these days and Ad Astra is right in the middle of this emerging technology. During Q2 of 2012 Ad Astra Information Systems launched the Astra Cloud, which is a cloud based hosting solution for both Platinum Analytics and Astra Schedule.

Our Platinum Analytics cloud implementation (PaaS) is offered as Software as a Service (SaaS) solution providing off premise software installation in a cloud based data center; along complete application management services. Platinum Analytics (PaaS) application management services include:

  • Software release installation and upgrading,
  • Platinum Analytics data import and analysis run execution based upon a pre-arranged schedule,
  • All application configurations,
  • Temporary short term test environments are available to support release training and testing events.

Our Astra Schedule cloud implementation is offered as a hosting solution providing off premise software installation in a cloud based data center. Application management activities are provided by the client and the Ad Astra implementation team. All Astra Schedule configuration activities continue to be managed by the client and Ad Astra implementation team.

The technology infrastructure provided by the Astra Cloud removes the need for physical servers to be located within an institution’s data center. The Astra Cloud technical infrastructure is housed in a state of the art data center with redundant power and cooling facilities, 24/7/365 network and security monitoring and enterprise-class network using Cisco ASA 5510 Firewall security.  Technology management services include:

  • Server setup and configuration,
  • Replacement of faulty servers,
  • Operating system patch server installation,
  • Database version upgrades,
  • Database weekly full backups, daily incremental backups and transaction logging,
  • Full data integration (i.e., batch and real-time imports and exports) are supported via remote connections to an institution’s Student Information System (SIS) and Degree Audit system. All remote connections for data imports and exports are executed over a secure Site to Site Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • All end user connections are provided over a secure https web browser connection.

We currently have two fully implemented Platinum Analytics Astra Cloud Connections projects. We are working with an existing client as a pilot project to move their Astra Schedule implementation from an on-premise installation to a cloud based implementation.

The Astra Cloud connectivity implementation can also connect to a clients’ local LDAP/AD service to allow for centralized local user management. Also, we can connect to local email services to allow client to retain the ability to send emails via the institutions local domain names. Both of these connections are executed over the secure Site to Site Virtual Private Network (VPN).

This is an exciting new service offering that can provide our clients with an off premise implementation option.

About the Author

Steve Oden

Steve leads the Development, QA, Product Management and Technical Support for Ad Astra. He graduated with a M.S. in School Computer Studies from Northwest Missouri State University and an M.S. and B.S. in Biology from Central Missouri State University. He joined Ad Astra in November 2010 after 23 years of software development and development leadership with Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri.

Under Steve’s leadership Ad Astra Development has adopted an Agile development methodology for new development, which has improved the predictability and flexibility of our development process. Additionally, Steve has leveraged his experience to implement a Quality Assurance program that includes release content planning, regression impact analysis, automated testing and a defined release certification and deployment process and process management metrics. Each of these new processes are creating an environment focused on delivering the highest quality solutions to our clients and the Higher Education market.

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