Ellucian Cloud Services and Solutions

In everything we do. . .we believe in challenging ourselves, our clients, and the status quo.  

Our Cloud Solutions Team is no exception.

The David Kent Cloud Team is passionate about re-engineering traditional on-premise Banner systems into cloud-native applications that are highly available, more reliable, more secure, easier to manage, and cost less. We are driven by a DevOps culture of persistent innovation, continuously improving upon our game-changing methods. 

We Deliver Cloud-Optimized Banner Systems

We rebuild Banner as a “Cloud Native” application.  We don’t simply migrate on-premise VMs that have never been optimized for cloud.  By rebuilding and optimizing your Banner system,  you capitalize on the public cloud’s metered consumption model. Moreover, we give you the tools and automation to manage and control your cloud resource consumption 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

With the Kent solution, all Banner infrastructure components are maintained as Infrastructure as Code (IaC).  Infrastructure as Code (IaC) means that machine-readable definition files, rather than platform-specific configuration tools, can be executed to quickly and easily create and modify an entire new Banner environment in a matter of minutes.  The application tier is containerized, making it easy to migrate to another solution, should a better opportunity arise in the future.  Most of all, we orchestrate and automate the containerized application resources to expand and contract as workload dictates.

Cost-Effective, Secure & Reliable Cloud Solutions

The bottom line is that where others fall short with economy lift-and shift solutions and low ball cloud cost estimates, we deliver a cloud-optimized Banner system that is highly available, secure, reliable, easier to manage, and costs much less to operate.

 
Feature Our solution Their solution
Approach
Rebuild Banner and optimize for cloud
Simple lift-and-shift of Infrastructure “as is”
Costs to rebuild Banner as a cloud native application included in migration cost?
Yes
No
Upfront cost
$$ (approx. equal)
$$ (approx. equal)
Multi-region DR build included
Yes
Sometimes
Containerization
Yes
No
Automation and orchestration of app tier including tools to control cloud resource consumption
Yes
No
App tier resources scalable with workload
Yes
Depends
Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Yes
No
Portability to alternate cloud solutions
Good
Poor
Ease of management
Easier
More difficult
Built with strong cloud security
Yes
Sometimes
FERPA compliance
Yes
Sometimes
SOC2 compliance
Available option
No
FISMA compliance
Available option
Depends

Monthly cloud resource consumption costs

$$$-$$$$ (40% less)

$$$$-$$$$$$


Why It Matters

Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) means that we provide machine-readable definition files that can be run to quickly and easily create all of the cloud infrastructure components necessary to build or rebuild a Banner environment.  Without IaC, the public cloud provider’s GUI or CLI is used to manually create each resource. IaC saves time, tedium, is less error-prone, and enables you to create a whole new Banner environment in a matter of minutes rather than weeks.

Cloud Automation

We deliver cloud automation tools to enable your IT support team and developers to create, modify, and tear down resources on the cloud automatically, so that services and resources are used “on demand” only if and when they are needed.
Cloud automation eliminates the huge manual effort of having someone spin up resources, test them, identify when they are no longer needed, and take them down.
 

Containerization

We use containers to abstract the Banner application tier from the virtual machine layer and share a single machine cluster. This means containers are far more lightweight, start faster, are more secure, are more reliable, and use a fraction of memory compared to booting an entire OS. This matters when you are paying for cloud resources in a metered consumption model. 
Containers are portable and can run virtually anywhere:  on Linux, Windows, Mac OS, on VMs, bare metal, on-premises or in any public or private cloud.  This gives the institution flexibility and portability, as it’s easy to pick up applications and run them virtually anywhere.
Containerization gives you leverage with the cloud provider at contract reset.  The option to easily move applications virtually anywhere is a huge bargaining chip, making it easy to relocate to an alternate provider, if a more attractive opportunity presents itself in the future. Cloud automation eliminates the huge manual effort of having someone spin up resources, test them, identify when they are no longer needed, and take them down.

Orchestration

Orchestration is the next level of automation. It involves container management, cloud elasticity, scheduling and integrating automated tasks between different systems.
Consider a system with three nodes running the application on virtual machines, a central database, and a load balancer. Deploying this complex system requires a carefully coordinated series of actions—installing and configuring the operating systems, starting up the database, starting up the applications, ensuring they connect to the database successfully, then setting up the load balancer.
While automation would involve performing each of these isolated tasks automatically, the orchestration system ensures that the tasks are performed declaratively in the correct order and timing, and ensures that the entire system is up and running. Another important use of orchestration is to manage connectivity. An orchestration system ensures components are connected to the local network or the Internet in the right order and time, and are communicating with the remote services they need to function as expected.
.