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This is what we do in the implementation phase:


Set up remote access to the customer's Amazon EC2 instance

WSO2 does all Managed Cloud deployments in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). A VPC enables you to launch Amazon Web Services (AWS) into a virtual network that you define. A VPC improves the security of your data by providing network-level control and isolation for the AWS. You can keep your data and configurations in a private space and expose them through the DMZ. This virtual network closely resembles a traditional network but with improved security and scalability.

We access the customer's Amazon EC2 instance over SSH only, with a Bastion host working as the SSH gateway. The Bastian host can either reside in the VPC or in the customer's data center as depicted in the diagram below:

  • The Bastian host in the VPC:  The Bastion host is in the public subnet and allows SSH traffic only to the WSO2 network via a non-standard port. All other hosts are configured to accept SSH requests from the Bastion host only.
     

Set up a domain name system (DNS)

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a server that translates domain names, which are alphanumeric and can be easily remembered by humans, to numerical IP addresses that are recognized by the Internet. The DNS is the Internet's primary directory service that determines which physical server a request should be routed to, when a visitor calls a domain name over the Internet.

For the servers in the customer's data center to connect to the virtual machines in the Amazon VPC, we need the domain-name-to-IP mappings set up in a DNS server. Customers can either use their own DNS servers for this, or allow WSO2 to use the Amazon Route53 service, as depicted in the diagrams below:

    • The DNS in the VPC: WSO2 uses an Amazon Route53 instance to maintain the domain-name-to-IP mappings related to the Managed Cloud. 
       
    • The DNS in the customer's data center: WSO2 provides the domain-name-to-IP mappings related to the Managed Cloud to the customer, who manages the DNS server in the customer's data center.
       

Set up an SMTP server

SMTP is shortened for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, which is an Internet standard for email transmission. An SMTP server is a computer running SMTP, and which delivers email messages to their corresponding recipients.

The customers can either use their own SMTP servers, or allow WSO2 to use Amazon SES. Shown below is how an SMTP server in the customer's data center communicates with the WSO2 EC2 instance in the Amazon VPC.

Diagram: SMTP server communicates with the WSO2 EC2 instance

Set up an NTP server

NTP is shorted for Network Time Protocol, which is a networking protocol for synchronising time over a network. Shown below is how the NTP server in the customer's data center communicates, over NTP, with the WSO2 virtual machines in the Amazon VPC.

DiagramNTP server communicates with the WSO2 EC2 instance

Set up a connection to the customer's data center

If the customer wants to connect his/her private AWS network with the data center that is managed by WSO2, the following options are available:

  • Set up a direct connection to the customer's data center from the AWS. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) must be available.
     
  • Set up a connection using an Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) VPN. The data center managed by WSO2 needs to have hardware supported by AWS. Also, the customer must provide the following:  

    • An Internet-routable IP address for the customer's gateway's external interface.
    • A BGP Autonomous System Number (ASN), if the customer needs dynamic routing.
    • IP prefixes in Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) to advertise to the VPC, if the customer uses static routing.
    • The hardware vendor, model and the software version of the router.

Set up the environments

The WSO2 Managed Cloud offering is for hosting and maintaining WSO2 products in a Amazon EC2 instance that the customer purchases. Here are the tasks performed by the WSO2 Managed Cloud team when setting up the environments. For additional services, the customer can purchase WSO2 Support.

 Tasks within the WSO2 Managed Cloud SLATasks covered by WSO2 Support services
1Set up an AWS account upon the customer's request (excluding the costs pertaining to the hosting services).

Develop and deploy applications and services.

2

Set up the virtual machines and networking in the customer's AWS.

Execute IT management tasks (e.g., creating users).

3

Deploy the WSO2 products that the customer purchased, according to the deployment architecture that was created in the Planning phase.

Execute quality assurance on the system.

(WSO2 will outsource Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration tests to third-party consultants.)

4

Create user accounts with admin privileges for the customer to log in to the Management Consoles of the WSO2 products. 

Conduct trainings on WSO2 products.

5Guarantee the availability of the Managed Cloud (See Support and Maintenance). 
6Upgrade the WSO2 products and install software patches upon request. 

Implement monitoring and alerting

WSO2 hosts all monitoring services in a separate subnet of the same VPC where the customer's Cloud services are hosted. We configure Nagios Remote Plugin Executor (NRPE) in all Linux hosts to monitor the resource utilization and set thresholds. If any resource gets utilized beyond a threshold, or if an application isn’t responding properly, NRPE triggers alerts and notifications. 

We collect statistics about resource utilization (i.e., disk, CPU, memory, and JVM heap usage), and application health. All statistics collected via the NRPE agents are presented using ICinga- the monitoring and dashboard tool. We also configure all Linux hosts with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), and host the statistics that are collected via SNMP using Cactithe network graphing solution. All statistical dashboards are exposed only to the WSO2 network over HTTP/S. To communicate with the third-party services required to extend alerts, all monitoring hosts need to have Internet connectivity. However, this doesn't mean that the monitoring hosts are placed in the public subnet.

WSO2 requires an email server with SMTP Authentication enabled to send direct email alerts and notifications to other servers. If the customer cannot provide an email server, WSO2 uses Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). We need support from the customer to verify the domain and set up DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), which is an email validation system designed to detect email spoofing. 

We maintain application logs using the Logstash, ElasticSearch and Kibana solutions. WSO2 configures a Logstash agent in each host to collect application data and send over to ElasticSearch that is running on the monitoring host in a different subnet in the same VPC. The Kibana dashboard is exposed only to the WSO2 network over HTTP/S.

The monitoring and alerting implementation is depicted in the diagram below:

     

Diagram: Monitoring and alerting implementation

If the customer's environment that is managed by WSO2 cannot be reached through the Internet, the customer must facilitate an HTTP proxy server for WSO2 to receive alerts. The diagram below depicts this scenario:

 

Diagram: Monitoring and alerting implementation when the customer's environment cannot be reached through the Internet

If the customer wants to synchronize his/her monitoring with that of WSO2, the operations teams from both sides need to agree on certain technical requirements such as additional agents that must be installed on hosts, how to expose dashboards to other networks, how to send alerts to additional email addresses and phones etc.  

Implement security

Network and infrastructure-level securityAs the Managed Cloud solutions are deployed in AWS, they inherit the security standards mentioned in https://aws.amazon.com/security/.
Operating system security
  • Amazon Machine Image (AMI) instances:
    • Red Hat and Ubuntu instances that are secured using the Center for Internet Security (CIS) standards.
    • Regular Red Hat and Ubuntu instances that are not hardened by the CIS standards.
  • Operating system patches and updates:
    • Customer must buy a subscription to receive official Red Hat patches and updates.
    • Can download Ubuntu patches and updates from the official Ubuntu repositories.
  

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Implement backup and disaster recovery

A disaster is a system failure that cannot be recovered using its own resources. WSO2 provides disaster recovery only upon the customer's request. If requested, WSO2 maintains the recovery scripts and backups in a geographically separate location, and in a different AWS region (DR site). In the event of a disaster, WSO2 sets up the system at the DR site using the backups and recovery scripts. 

The backup and disaster recovery process is shown in the diagram below:

Diagram: The backup and disaster recovery process

Note the following regarding the backup and disaster recovery process:

  • All backup processes are automated.
  • Backups are taken of hosted artifacts such as web applications and services, application and system logs, and databases related to the solution, including WSO2 product databases.
  • Backups are taken from the primary setup to the DR site daily, although this frequency can change depending on the size of the data and the rate that the data changes.
  • The customer can request log and artifact backups for the last three months, anytime.
  • WSO2 cannot provide database backups immediately upon the customer's request. This is because the database backups are stored in a way unique to the Amazon RDS, and it requires some time to be extracted properly.
  • The following have to be determined after a drill (test run) of the recovery process:
    • Recovery Point Objective (RPO): the point in time at which the system was last in a well-known state. This depends on the backup frequency.
    • Recovery Time Objective (RTO): how much time will be taken to recover the system to the last well-known state.
  • WSO2 stores all artifact and log backups in AWS and archives them to Amazon Glacier upon the customer's request.
  • WSO2 takes database backups as Amazon RDS snapshots. 
  • If there are Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes in the deployment, WSO2 takes daily snapshots using the AWS-provided snapshot feature.

Commit the artifacts

WSO2 manages a Subversion repository internally to store and manage resources such as scripts, documents, and diagrams regarding the Managed Cloud. WSO2 ensures that they are secure and not publicly accessible to anyone. WSO2 shares these resources with the customer upon his/her request.

Also, once the customer deploys any kind of application or service artifact to a WSO2 server in the Managed Cloud, WSO2 takes ownership and responsibility of its security and availability.

Hand over the environments

WSO2 is to hand over the production environment to the customer with:

  • URLs of the WSO2 products deployed in the Managed Cloud.
  • Credentials with admin privileges to access the Management Consoles of the WSO2 products.

Tip: Note that WSO2 can facilitate the following upon the customer's request:

  • Arrange a third-party consultant to carry out penetration tests.
  • Provide reports and dashboards on the production environment.
  • Arrange trainings and workshops for the customer.
  • Provide read-only access to the monitoring dashboards and the log viewer.

Next, go to Support and Maintenance.

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