Case Study:

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta leverages the AWS cloud to increase global access and connectivity to world-class research.

iTMethods helped the University of Alberta architect a unified digital strategy and
grow its digital marketing space on the AWS Cloud.

Digital Strategy

iTMethods executed a roadmap to unify hundreds of websites and online resources, creating a cohesive digital strategy.

Compete Globally

The University of Alberta expanded their reach to compete on new domestic and international levels.

Barriers to growth

We want to make sure that anyone from anywhere in the world – whether they’re in a bustling metropolis across an ocean or in a rural community right here in Alberta – has access to the University of Alberta’s world-class research. Migrating our websites to the AWS Cloud enables, simplifies, and streamlines those global and local connections.”

– Jennifer Chesney, Associate Vice-President of University Digital Strategy

Background

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences.

The Challenge

The University of Alberta is committed to continuous innovation – unifying its digital strategy, expanding into new domestic and international markets, and sharing its world-class research. Facilitating that growth and maintaining its large and active digital ecosystem on legacy systems and traditional applications was challenging, a struggle exacerbated by fluctuating demand during peak and off-peak research seasons. In order to unify its strategy and grow its digital marketing space, the University of Alberta needed a robust and secure cloud-based solution.

After a competitive RFP process, iTMethods started working with the University of Alberta at a time when it needed the expertise required to architect a unified digital strategy and make the most of the cloud. To enable that, the University of Alberta needed a secure, reliable, and scalable platform – features the AWS Cloud is built to deliver.

The Solution

iTMethods’ team brings a breadth of experience to the table, providing skillful and flexible management of the University of Alberta’s critical infrastructures on an ongoing basis. “It was clear from the start of our engagement that there was a great sharing of knowledge amongst everyone on the iTMethods team,” said Jennifer Chesney, Associate Vice-President of University Digital Strategy. “We needed to move our digital brand to an infrastructure management partner that could provide the university the highest quality optimization of our complex environment. They’ve worked collaboratively with us since the beginning – helping us make the most of the AWS Cloud and deliver the best results to our network of students, faculty, researchers, and clients.”

iTMethods developed an auto-scaling, demand-responsive algorithm to deliver maximum elasticity, scalability,and configurability. Moving to an elastic price model was a better fit for the evolving consumption patterns of a large university, letting the University of Alberta adapt dynamically and respond to flexible, shifting demand.

The AWS Cloud delivers industry-leading security and built-in compliance. Cloud security is the highest priority for AWS, and they’ve architected their cloud to reflect that – incorporating self-healing mechanisms, privacy safeguards, user-friendly compliance, vulnerability reporting, and more. Before moving to the AWS Cloud, the University of Alberta underwent two thorough testing parameters to ensure maximum, uncompromised security for their digital ecosystem

The Results

With AWS and iTMethods, the University of Alberta was able to unify and simplify its digital strategy. “Over the years, universities across Canada and beyond have seen their websites expand rapidly, turning into complex webs of digital content,” said Jennifer. “We’ve been able to tackle the challenge of unravelling and organizing the strands to move towards creating a cohesive digital strategy.”

“Our goal is to make sure that anyone from anywhere in the world – whether they’re in a bustling metropolis across an ocean or in a rural community right here in Alberta – has access to the University of Alberta’s world-class research,” said Jennifer. “Migrating our websites to the cloud enables, simplifies, and streamlines those global and local connections.”

Architecting the University of Alberta’s critical web infrastructure on the AWS Cloud enabled them to overcome challenges associated with traditional hardware – maximizing scalability, security, and reliability. Leveraging iTMethods ongoing support for automation and regulatory compliance lets the University of Alberta focus on its own growth and development.

AWS Platform Services

iTMethods and University of Alberta are taking advantage of the following AWS platform services as part of this enterprise solution:

Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) Distributes traffic load to the Content Delivery System
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Powers all workloads
Amazon S3 Media asset storage
AutoScaling (ASG) Enables environment elasticity to respond to the demand fluctuations automatically
Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) Backend managed database
Amazon Route 53 Public and private DNS used for traffic routing
Amazon Elasticsearch Service Used for indexing
Amazon CloudWatch

Environment monitoring and alerting

AWS CloudFormation Stack deployment
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