Santa Barbara City College is an academic institution of 17,000+ students across three campuses and two downtown centers. It is the largest Community College in California. Santa Barbara City College makes use of Cloud technology like AWS workSpaces to provide a range of programs for students.
Santa Barbara City College was experiencing growing pains as the success of the nOps Classroom-in-the-Cloud began to really explode. As each student logs into their Cyber Security class on AWS WorkSpaces, the record of their attendance and all their activity is stored for record-keeping and regulation purposes. As the quantity of classes started to skyrocket, so did the utilization of their WorkSpaces and it became difficult for Santa Barbara City College to obtain the reporting they needed in order to properly analyze attendance and classroom costs by factors such as students, classrooms, activity, etc. Additionally, Santa Barbara City Collegerealized that these data could also be used to establish a grading system, audit student activity, and ensure the students were completing the assignments.
Another challenge is to store and archive the RDS backups as launching EC2 and RDS is part of the cyber Security class and it is needed to take a backup of RDS and keep it stored in the cloud for future audit, compliance, and grading intends.
nOps, working closely with Santa Barbara City College, developed an elegant solution utilizing AWS Lambda, Amazon S3, S3 Glacier, and CloudWatch for processing, storage, archival, and monitoring, respectively. Veeam Backup for AWS was introduced and implemented to take the RDS backups as RDS Snapshots and save it in Amazon S3 and S3 glacier for storage and archival, respectively, which supported 150 WorkSpaces and 600+ servers. The working details of the solution are as follows-
- The first Lambda function invokes DescribeWorkspaces API. This API gathers the utilization of the WorkSpaces running in the Santa Barbara City College environment every 15 minutes and then stores the output in an S3 Bucket.
- The next Lambda function processes the data from the S3 bucket which runs once a day into a summary report, tags it and saves that file in a separate location.
- Veeam Backup for AWS creates RDS Snapshots and sends them to S3 for backup and archival.
Finally, nOps developed and implemented life-cycle policies by utilizing tags or suitable prefixes for additional action: e.g. deleting raw files after seven days, and moving weekly files to infrequent access after 30 days.
Benefits – Reduced Operational Overhead and Cost Saving
With this new paradigm of storage and archiving for their successful Classroom-in-the-Cloud solution, Santa Barbara City College can now accurately track student usage, provide timely reporting, look at trends to ensure scalability, meet strict compliance requirements and save a significant amount of money on storage costs considering the overall Classroom-in-the-Cloud solution, which contributes to the 75% overall reduction in spend for their popular Cyber Security curriculum. Their spend on storage before implementation of solution was $10,000 per month which was reduced to $2,500 per month after the implementation of nOps provided storage solution. It also benefited in the reduction of operational overhead for conduction and managing infrastructure and backups. This solution added the capability of getting reports on WorkSpace utilization while minimizing development and operational costs.