WICS’ Cloud Story– Application Migration & Managed Services
WICS needed to migrate Raven, their extreme-scale, emergency management R&D application, to a reliable, resilient and secure operational platform for worldwide use. Raven is a mobile, web-based command and control system whose long-range goal is to deal with dynamically escalating incidents, from first response to extreme-scale, facilitating collaboration across all levels of government, commercial, and private use for all-hazard events. Raven was designed to serve a specific category of operator: The Tired-Dirty-Hungry Responder Under Extreme Stress. Since 2010, while still transitioning from R&D status, Raven has been used on several hundred emergency incidents—a large number involving Type 1 Incident Management Teams.
Before Raven went online and was hosted at Amazon Web Services (AWS),the earlier R&D versions (LDDRS and NICS) were hosted primarily at the San Diego Supercomputer Center on the campus of the University of California at San Diego. A few databases were hosted on the developer’s servers at MITLL, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory).
The REAN Cloud Technical Implementation Services team provided the software and systems development for engineering Raven’s transition to AWS Cloud. REAN Cloud’s development work was to take the code from MIT LL, posted on the open source library GitHub, debug and make it operational on AWS. The REAN team assessed WICS operational needs developing a technology strategy that incorporated the following core requirements:
- Security – To protect and keep people safe by providing access to tools and information used and shared by first responders.
- Scalability – To support auto-scaling based on the magnitude of an emergency incident.
- Customization and Differentiation – To allow transitioning from the original R&D version technologies to a WICS-owned and managed platform for building the next generation Raven with significantly advanced technologies.
- Performance – To manage application workloads for handling thousands of concurrent users and hundreds of concurrent incidents.
- Storage and Archiving – To process and store permanent records of information developed during an incident that is fully discoverable for rapid development of shared understanding, decision making and distribution of tailored information to incident stakeholders.
In addition to hosting Raven onto AWS for the purposes of scalability and resilience, WICS instituted REAN’s enterprise-level-managed Services to provide comprehensive 24x7x365 support of their cloud infrastructure.
“Since Raven is an emergency management application, it is critical to have solid 24x7x365 up time.Interruption of the application is unacceptable as it could result in substantial human,systems, and material costs,”
Dr. Jack Thorpe
Why WICS Chose REAN Cloud & AWS
WICS was referred to REAN Cloud by Amazon Web Services. WICS chose to partner with REAN to provide application migration,cloud hosting, IT support design infrastructure and Managed Services. With WICS development firmly rooted in operational expertise, the RAVEN project has always been about CONOPS innovation rather than just technology. The decision to work with REAN allowed the WICS staff, who are subject matter experts on emergency management, to focus on their core competencies. REAN Cloud handled the technology strategy also educating the WICS team on Managed Services. The insights that the REAN Cloud team shared with the WICS staff expanded their knowledge on the capabilities of Managed Services without over-reaching the needs and skill set of the first responder. This exchange of information and insights has enabled WICS to catapult Raven to the next level by focusing on innovation instead of technology.
The interplay between WICS operational staff with the technical team at REAN Cloud resulted in a successful collaboration.
Through the security framework, the AWS tools are enabling the following:
- Secure Emergency Platform – That preserves homeland defense and national security by preventing hacker attempts by state and non-state actors who want to aggravate an emergency, or use the occurrence of an emergency as a diversion for some other hostile act.
- Robust Cloud Architecture – That mirrors the response to a large-scale emergency ensuring a resilient, reliable andredundant response to meet the four main needs of all emergency operations: Preparedness, Planning, Response, Recovery.
- Self-Hosting – That supports the capacity for adding more capabilities according to localized needs.
If you are considering how to move business applications into the cloud, please contact REAN Cloud at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit REAN at www.reancloud.com to learn how REAN can help you make a successful transition to the cloud while increasing your security and IT management position and reducing overall total cost.