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Cloud Computing Assignment: Office Automation Approaches for Regional Gardens


Task: Regional Gardens Ltd is a company that runs a number of related gardening enterprises. It has a large display garden that it opens for public inspection a number of times a year. These enterprises include the Regional Gardens Nursery which sells plants and garden supplies to the public, and Regional Garden Planners which provides garden advice, design and consultancy services.
  Regional Gardens has engaged you as a consultant to advise them on the use of Cloud Computing in their daily operations and they have asked you to prepare a report for their Board that looks at the following aspects of the proposal:
The first step of the board’s plan is to move the Regional Gardens website and associated web services into the cloud. However, they want some further information on: 
Whether an IaaS or a PaaS model would be more appropriate for their web services and the advantages and disadvantages of each model in this case     (15 marks). 
The board also want their web services architecture to be more resilient than in the past, and they want you to recommend an architecture to achieve resiliency  (15 marks).  
In keeping with the their new security policy, the Board want to keep all client and transaction data in the Bathurst Data Centre and not in the cloud. This means that clients accessing the Regional Gardens web site and web services will need to have any data that they upload stored in the Bathurst Data Centre. 
Describe to the Board how you would arrange to have client data that is uploaded to the Regional Gardens web site and services stored in the Bathurst Data Centre.  (15 marks) 
Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.  (15 marks)   
Regional Gardens want to ensure that all their staff have the ability to access office automation, such as email, word processing and spreadsheet capabilities, as well as online storage for their files, whether they are in the office, at home, or deployed on a customer’s site in the field. The Regional Gardens board is very concerned to learn about the critical issues, other than cost, that may affect the supply of Cloud based office automation to their staff. You will need to prepare a report on the best way to provide office automation for Regional Gardens. Your report should:  Provide Regional Gardens with TWO different approaches to providing office automation to their staff;  (10 marks) 
Outline the major benefits and issues with each approach;   (5 marks) 
Provide a summary of your advice to this company along with your recommendation about which option to choose.  (5 marks) 
The garden design unit uses the DynaScape software suite, which is installed locally on their laptops, to design gardens and landscapes for their clients. The design staff often spend long periods at a clients property while collecting data and designing. The Board are uncertain if they should retain local installations of this software or subscribe to the SaaS version of DynaScape.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.    (20 marks)
Your report should not exceed 10 pages, excluding references.


Introduction to the case scenario of cloud computing assignment
Data has emerged as the most important asset for a business organization. The data storage and management has become a major concern for the business firms. This is because of the increase in the demand of the data sets. There is also development that is taking place in the technology and there are new technologies that are emerging. The cloud computing technologies and networks are being used for all sorts of applications and systems. There are different models and approaches that are associated with the cloud computing apps. The selection of these models and approaches shall be done correctly in the following sections of cloud computing assignment (Sether, 2016).

Organization Background
There are a number of related gardening enterprises that are run by the Regional Gardens Ltd. There is a nursery which is open for the public and the customers can buy plants, planters, and garden supplies from the nursery. There is also Regional Garden Planners that provides the consultancy services to the people. The board of Regional Gardens has made a decision to move the website and the web services to the cloud platforms. There are a number of decisions that need to be taken around the cloud services and models.

Cloud Model
There are a number of cloud models that are available. Two of these models noted in this section of cloud computing assignment are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Each of the two cloud models has their own features and characteristics. The selection of the cloud model shall be done adequately by Regional Gardens Ltd so that the enhanced benefits can be attained. There are respective benefits and drawbacks that are associated with the IaaS as well as the PaaS model.

It is difficult to maintain and manage the infrastructure for the cloud services. Also, there are higher costs that are associated with the cloud infrastructure. These costs and efforts are eliminated with the IaaS model. There is a great degree of scalability and flexibility that comes with the cloud model (Dimitri, 2020). The cost-effective model provides the accessibility to a large number of people. The hardware will be deployed automatically which will make it easier to use the cloud services and data. There are a few drawbacks that are also associated with the IaaS model. The data security is one of the major concerns with the IaaS model as there is multitenancy that is involved. In the case of the outages, the accessibility to the data may get affected.

PaaS is another cloud model that may be used in the current case of cloud computing assignment. The platform for cloud will be provided with the built-in software components. There are pros and cons that are associated with the PaaS model. The development procedures on the PaaS model will be quick and will have lesser complexities associated with them. There is easy migration that will be possible to the hybrid cloud. The costs associated with developing, testing, and deployment activities will be lower. The compatibility with the existing infrastructure may be an issue along with the data security issues (Pahl, 2015).

On the basis of the pros and cons of the two models identified in the cloud computing assignment and the requirements of the organization, the model that is recommended is the IaaS cloud model. The model will provide the ability to have reduced initial investment costs. Also, the security concerns will be possible to be managed with the security controls that are defined.

Web Services Architecture for Resiliency
Web services architecture provides the mechanisms to integrate different elements so that the overall interoperability is improved. There are three major roles that are present in the web services architecture. These include service provider, requester, and registry (Huang, 2015). There are a number of operations that are involved between these roles as depicted in the figure presented in the next section of cloud computing assignment.

Web Services Architecture in cloud computing assignment

Web Services Architecture
The study prepared in the cloud computing assignment examines that there are several aspects that are important for the web services architecture and one of these aspects is the resiliency. It is the property that refers to the effective usage of the overall application even when one of the components does not perform well. It is the ability to maintain the quality and performance while dealing with the problems and failures. To make sure that the scalability and availability of the services and applications is achieved, there are several measures that can be taken. The use of load balancers shall be done in the web services architecture so that the load is distributed evenly. This will not lead to the situations of overloads and the performance issues resulting from the same. There are more servers that can be added to achieve horizontal scaling and the existing servers shall be upgraded to achieve vertical scaling. The inclusion of the master-master configuration and inclusion of high availability zones shall also be done. However, there are additional steps that need to be taken to make sure that the Regional Gardens Ltd cloud services and applications are resilient(Miksa, Mayer, &Rauber, 2015).

It is clear on this cloud computing assignmentthat the design of the web applications along with the cloud infrastructure shall support the resilience. There are a number of patterns that can be used to make sure that the resiliency is included in the application design. The significance increased if the Microservices architecture is implemented. The cloud models will make use of the Microservices architecture and the use of the patterns shall be done. The client-side resiliency patterns shall be used so that the required level of resiliency can be achieved. The use of the pattern will provide the ability to protect the remote resource client from any of the crashes. The issues of the downtime or increased response time will be managed using the patterns. The client-side resiliency can be further classified in to sub-patterns. For example, the inclusion of circuit breakers and bulkheads can be done. The inclusion of these patterns shall be done between the regional Gardens Ltd architecture and the Microservices as illustrated below within the cloud computing assignment.

Web Services Architecture in cloud computing assignment

Data Storage in Bathurst Data Centre
Regional gardens ltd wishes to store its data in the Bathurst Data Centre rather than storing the data on the cloud platforms. There are specific measures and approaches that shall be followed to make sure that the data is stored properly. The use of VLAN and the next generation firewalls shall be done so that the storage of data is done securely and the transition of the data from the data centre to the application is also secure. An example of the data storage mechanism is shown in the image below in the cloud computing assignment.

VLAN with Next-Gen Firewalls
It is stated in the cloud computing assignmentthat the segmentation of the data and applications associated with the Regional Gardens Ltd will be required. It will be necessary because the sensitivity and criticality of the data shall be considered before the storage is done(Prabadevi&Jeyanthi, 2017). The sensitivity levels will vary in terms of low, medium, and highly sensitive information. The classification and grouping will enable the usage and application of the above security structure effectively.

The use of the software-defined data centre shall be done so that the data storage and distribution is done properly. It will include the data storage decisions to be made on the basis of the information and traffic flow. In the regional gardens ltd website, there are numerous functions and modules that are implemented. Some of these deals with the nursery operations while some of these deals with the consultancy services that are provided by the organization. The data that is associated with each of these operations and services vary in terms of the criticality and sensitivity of the information. The storage of the data as per the data flow and the traffic will make sure that the response rate and throughput time of the services and applications is enhanced. The data sets will highest flow will be stored above the ones with reduced requirements(Lykou, Mentzelioti, &Gritzalis, 2018).

Advantages & Disadvantages
There are several benefits that will be associated with the use of the above approach illustrated in the cloud computing assignment. The access and retrieval of the data will be easy and it will also be controlled. There are different resources in the regional gardens ltd that will be provided with varied data access. The development of such norms and policies will become easier with the use of the above approach. Also, the classification of the data will make sure that the mapping of the data with the network components can be done easily. The involvement of the next gen firewall will make sure that the aspects around data and network security is covered. The benefits of security and privacy of the data will be achieved. There are a number of network-based security risks and attacks that take place. Some of these include the denial of service, eavesdropping, malware attacks, or others(Kropachev&Zuev, 2018). The data sets of regional gardens ltd will also be exposed to such network security issues. With regards to the case of cloud computing assignment, the use of the next gen firewalls will make sure that the detection of such security issues and attacks is done in advance. It will provide the ability to have the readiness to manage the security issues. Also, the approach will make sure that the overall performance of the services and applications is improved. The improvements will be assured as the data access will be controlled on the basis of the data flow. The response and throughput time for the specific functions and modules will be reduced as an outcome.

There will also be a few disadvantages that will be associated with the approach selected in the present context of cloud computing assignment. The overall costs will be high as it will include the cost of the firewalls, hardware and software costs, and others. There will also be regular maintenance that will be necessary so that the overall management and storage is adequate. The storage of the data in the data centre will require frequent reviews and audits. Also, the back-up will be necessary to be managed by the Regional Gardens Ltd. The inability to do so will lead to the emergence of security and privacy concerns.

Office Automation Approaches
There are different approaches that Regional Gardens Ltd will be able to apply to make sure that the office automation is implemented and the automated services are provided to the clients. There are two approaches that are defined which may be used by the organization to have the office automation services in place.

The first discussed in this section of cloud computing assignment is the ad-hoc office automation. The cloud-based office automation system in this case will not be based on any specific plans or processes. The automated services will be designed for the employees and they will be distributed as per the demands and the requirements(Bauer, 2018). For example, there may be some employees that will visit the office while some will work remotely. The remote access will be provided to the employees on the basis of their schedule. This will make sure that the network bandwidth is effectively utilized. Similarly, the access to the critical applications and services will be controlled in this manner. This will provide the scalability to the automated services as the usage will be done as per the actual need and requirement.

Herein cloud computing assignment, the second approach that can be followed is the prototype approach. The approach will provide the mechanism to have the automation design prototypes in place. The use of the prototypes will be done to develop the cloud-based services and these will then be implemented in the organization. The cloud-based office automation on the basis of the prototype will be fixed in nature and there will not be many changes that will be possible in this case(Jinhua& Xiaoping, 2015).

Major Benefits & Issues
The primary benefits that the ad-hoc approach will provide will be the ability to scale up or scale down the automations services as per the requirement. There will be enhanced flexibility that will be associated with the application and it will make sure that the automation is done as per the employee requirements. There will also be a few issues as the lack of plans may lead to the implementation errors or concerns.

The second approach as the prototype approach will be designed as per the requirements of the Regional Gardens Ltd. However, the changes will not be possible in this case of cloud computing assignment and there will be limited flexibility involved(Du & Jiang, 2014). The overall performance will be good for the services that will already be included.

Recommended Approach to the case of cloud computing assignment
Regional gardens ltd will be implementing office automation for the first time. Therefore, the inclusion of the cloud-based office automation shall be done using the prototype approach. This is because the implementation will be properly tested and the requirements of the organization will be met. Once the results will be stable and successful, it will be possible to then switch to the ad-hoc approach.

DynaScape Software
The organization shall obtain the SaaS version of the DynaScape Software rather than sticking with the local installations of the software. This is because the local installations are often not updated and there are security vulnerabilities that may emerge in such installations. The employees visit the client sites and they may connect their respective laptops to the client networks. Due to the security vulnerabilities in the local installations, it is possible that the network-based security risks and attacks take place. This will not only impact the data present in the employee’s laptop but may also have negative implications on the client networks and systems (Power, 2018).

The use of the SaaS version will eliminate any of such possibilities as discussed in the cloud computing assignment as the vendors will release the formal updates and it will be their responsibility to make sure that the software remains updated at all times. The maintenance, support, and updates will be easily and effectively done. There are specific security risks and concerns as identified in the cloud computing assignment that are associated with the cloud models and platforms as well. However, the inclusion of the proper security tools and controls will make sure that such risks and issues do not take place. The cost of the SaaS version would be higher than the local installations that are in place. However, it will be one-time costs that will come with larger benefits (Clarke, 2015). The cost of recovering from the security attacks due to the local installations will be far more than the cost of the SaaS version.

It has become essential for every business organization to maintain the pace with the latest technology and systems. Regional Gardens Ltd selected in the present context of cloud computing assignmenthas also made one step forward in this direction as it has decided to move its website and web services to the cloud platform. These services will make it possible for the organization to have faster processing and enhanced flexibility. The use of the IaaS model shall be done by the organization along with the inclusion of the resiliency on the web services architecture. The use of the prototype approach shall be done for the installation and inclusion of the cloud-based office automation system. The data that will be stored in the Bathurst data centre shall be segmented and classified on the basis of the sensitivity and traffic flow levels. This will make it easier to properly store and manage the data. Also, it is recommended in the present cloud computing assignment that the installation of the SaaS version of the DynaScape software shall be done so that the security issues and vulnerabilities that may arise in the local installations can be avoided.

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