Course / Programme: BEng Software Engineering
Module name and code: Computing Infrastructure (SWE4102)
Student ID 1928220
Tutor: Francis Morrissey
Assignment Number: 1
Computer Sciences and Information Technology
scenario computer infrastructure
Assignment Title: Infrastructure Proposal for Medical Consultancy
Weighting 40% of overall module grade
Issue Date: 09/11/2020
Submission Deadline: 21/12/2020@ 2355
Learning Outcomes assessed:
1. Explain the features of systems hardware and software in addition to services provided.
2. Apply networking principles and protocols to solve a given problem.
Infrastructure Models 2
The “On-Prem” Model 2
Benefits and Drawbacks of The “On-Prem” Model 2
Cloud Computing Infrastructure Model 3
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Cloud Infrastructure Model 4
The Cloud Deployment Models 5
The Cloud Service Models 6
The On-Premises Infrastructure 7
Networking Solution 11
As the Chief Information Officer (CIO), it has become evident that the firm’s present scale cannot handle the increased need for services for the firm. The firm primarily provides remote medical consultations whose demand would increase with an increase in coronavirus cases. For some time, the patients have not been able to consult with their regular National Health Service (NHS) consultants due to redeployment to temporary Nightingale hospitals in the country. The government has also placed regional traveling restrictions on reducing the virus’s spread, thus inhibiting visits to the consultants. Other important information on the present information includes that the business processes have all been enabled digitally and hence high availability and operational performance are required for the operations. Security is also an important objective of the firm as its sensitive medical information had to be stored for the remote consultancies. There is a data center at the main site at Manchester, and thirty consultants are expected to staff the new site at Coventry. At this time, these consultants have no technological infrastructure and hence will need to be purchased. These situational conditions prompt the need to develop better computer infrastructure to handle the increased services and protect the patient information while ensuring that all network users are communicating accordingly.
In this report, an understanding of the on-premises and cloud computing infrastructure models will be carried out by discussing what they entail, their benefits, their drawbacks, cloud deployment models, and cloud service models. The report identified the preferred infrastructure model and how it will be implemented. Furthermore, the network infrastructure to be implemented at Coventry is also discussed to ensure the streamlined networking happens. The main assumption in this development is that all users can use digital devices, specifically basic computer skills, and constantly access portable digital devices. This could either be a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
An I.T. infrastructure model demonstrates the existent interrelationships between networks, hardware, and structure to create the entity’s network infrastructure. In this report, two options in infrastructure models to be considered in this report are the on-prem and cloud, infrastructure models.
The “On-Prem” Model
The “on-prem” infrastructure model entails having private data centers housing their network facilities and maintaining them in-house. The on-premise setup needs in-house server hardware, software licenses, integration capacities, and the I.T. employees being present constantly to offer support and manage any potential issues as they come up (Hughes, 2021). from the point of implementing the on-premise software to their running. Everything is undertaken internally. Issues such as maintenance, safety, and constant updates are done in-house. After purchasing the software, it gets installed on the servers; hence more powerful servers, database software, and operating systems will be required. In this infrastructure, no third party is involved; thus, the enterprise will assume whole ownership. Notably, the on-prem infrastructure can be utilized in the running of private clouds such that the compute resources are virtualized similarly to the public clouds. It is important to note that the private clouds could also be run on third-party hardware.
Benefits and Drawbacks of The “On-Prem” Model
The on-premises infrastructure has several benefits, such as it can operate with no internet, and the monthly internet expenses are generally lower. Generally, users do not need internet connections to access data. However, most entities depend on the internet for their business operations. Hence, there is always a fear that losing the connection could harm production levels and make it challenging to access important information (Morefield Communications, 2019). The “on-prem” servers will avail an internal network accessible all the time regardless of the status of the internet connection. Depending on an enterprises’ needs, those with on-prem infrastructure do not need very expensive internet access to files. The on-premises storage has greater security since external parties such as third parties cannot prey on the network. The entity will also have control over server hardware that allows greater flexibility and customization as per their needs.
Factoring in all the resources required for an on-premise infrastructure model to be up and running is an expensive affair. These include extra I.T. staff for maintaining and managing the servers. Apart from the greater initial capital investment for buying the servers, hardware, software, and licenses, the maintenance expenses are high when covering repairs and updates. Another drawback of this model is that the risk of data losses increases since any malfunction to the system or a cyber-attack happens. The company could permanently lose the data (Morefield Communications, 2019). The on-premises infrastructure has all the data stored in one’s internal server, which attaches a high amount of risk if the server malfunctions. The entity is also limited in scalability since more storage space and other capabilities will be required with every growth needed. It becomes challenging to scale the servers fast, and new hardware and human resources will be required for any new systems brought in.
Cloud Computing Infrastructure Model
The second infrastructure model is cloud computing, which has the on-demand computer system resources delivered without active management and encompasses storage and processing power (Hughes, 2021). The enterprise will have a cloud-based subscription model and not need to buy any further infrastructure or licenses. The cloud provider can avail of the servers, network, and software while the enterprise pays an annual subscription service (Venditto, 2018). The entity will access the information hosted by the third party via a web portal. When the enterprise chooses to have a dedicated private cloud, they enjoy using the platform exclusively without any shared resources; further, customization could be implemented, more backup controls, and upgrades. The shared public cloud will have the enterprise share the cloud services with multiple tenants, but they still have complete privacy of their information. The public cloud is a more economical option but is limited in terms of customization.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Cloud Infrastructure Model
Cloud computing benefits include very few resources; hence, the enterprise could adjust their financial budget needs. The infrastructure eliminates the need for capital expenses since cloud computing costs are considered operational expenses. Cloud computing services are handled by a third party eliminating capital investment as they pay affordable monthly subscriptions (Morefield Communications, 2019). The I.T. staff’s responsibilities are reduced as they do not take their time to install hardware, software, and other infrastructure needs; their time is freed up to concentrate on other core functions. Their information does not run the risk of being lost permanently due to constant back up. An enterprise seeking aggressive expansion into the global level is not limited as the cloud provides a better appeal of connecting with clients, partners, and other businesses with minimal efforts. An additional benefit includes the instant provisioning of updates and new applications since everything is already configured. For any new software integrated into the cloud environment, it becomes easy to use as long as the enterprise has made the required subscription.
The drawbacks of cloud computing include that the internet will determine user experience, and access will be based on available connection. An enterprise considering to have the majority of its workload down on the cloud, then a strong internet connection is a must. The costs affiliated with cloud computing can balloon unexpectedly, especially when the company needs more services. Information is also less secure in the cloud since the company will have granted another party the rights to manage and keep their information secure. As long as an outside party is taking care of the data, there is a risk of unauthorized parties accessing the information.
The Cloud Deployment Models
There are several cloud deployment models, which are mainly the infrastructure in which a cloud is located. The private cloud’s first model is the cloud infrastructure provided for exclusive utilization by one organization with several consumers, such as respective business units (Bamiah and Brohi, 2011, 77). An organization, a third party, or a combination of the two could own, manage, and operate the organization’s private cloud. Companies with their data center and developed I.T. infrastructure with specific security or performance needs prefer the private cloud due to the benefits from virtualization and automation. The second public cloud model is the cloud infrastructure provided for open use by the general public. The owning, managing, and operations could be done by a business, government organization or an academic, or a combination of all.
The Community cloud is the cloud infrastructure that provides exclusive utilization by a particular community of clients from entities with shared concerns such as security requirements and compliance issues. It entails I.T. infrastructure and resources from several organizations being integrated (Bamiah and Brohi, 2011, 78). Therefore, member organizations and their resources need to be interoperable and comply with the set regulations. Finally, the hybrid cloud is another deployment model whose cloud infrastructure encompasses two or more different cloud infrastructures. The different units combined remain unique but are connected by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability. Modern companies find the hybrid model an economical model. It combines numerous benefits such as having the main cloud-based enterprise infrastructure and high load tasks to the public clouds. They also benefit from having a controlled environment from private clouds and the dynamic elasticity of private clouds.
The Cloud Service Models
Cloud computing encompasses different kinds of services that are available to the users as on-demand. The service delivery models include the software as a Service (SaaS) model. The provider facilitates the clients with licensed applications that run on cloud infrastructure via a thin client interface (Gorelik, 2013, 67). This model is efficient for accessing lightweight applications since the heavyweight applications will cause the model’s performance to go down due to buffering time. Another service model is the platform as a Service (PaaS) model, where the provider facilitates the customers with programming language platforms and software. These are for the deployment of existing or purchased applications on the cloud infrastructure. This is done over the internet via the Application program Interfaces of web portals. Finally, the infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) service delivery model where the provider facilitates clients’ fundamental computing resources to deploy and run the arbitrary software. The software includes operating systems and applications. IaaS will deliver a platform virtualization environment as a service as the clients get control over all resources provided.
Considering the Medical firm situation, a hybrid version of both the Cloud and On-premises infrastructure for its data centers is preferred.
The On-Premises Infrastructure
Considering that the Medical firm already has a data center in their main city in Manchester, this is the place where the on-premises infrastructure will be set up. Robust patient privacy and confidentiality is a fundamental objective of the Medical centers’ healthcare system. Therefore, protecting the intimate data entrusted to the Ccentre’sprofessionals is part of the medical center’s operations. The risk attached to awarding a third party control over such information is the primary reason why the on-premises model is maintained. At this data center, confidential patient information will be stored. Considering that the capital expenses are stored together with the hospital having a number of competent I.T. staff, the costs will not be expensive. An additional reason why the on-premises infrastructure is required is that sensitive patient medical information is required for remote consultancies. This can only be achieved via on-premises infrastructure, considering the cloud’s internet is not reliable for remote consultancies.
The fundamental measures that need prompt implementation are now the appropriate protection strategies that will prevent any cyber threats and have policies to direct on regular monitoring and maintenance. The cybersecurity measures include having the control access measures be implemented will ensure only authorized parties get to access the confidential information. First, a strong password policy where unauthorized users will constantly create and update their passwords. Two-factor authentication will be needed for access, and different accounts will require different passwords (Nibusinessinfo.co.uk. 2021). A sophisticated access control policy is also to be implemented and constantly updated to respond to the evolving risk factors (Martin, 2019). In case of a breach, the organization will isolate the relevant users and data resources to mitigate any adverse effects. A firewall will be set up as an effective gatekeeper between the computer devices and the internet to act as a major barrier preventing the spread of cyber threats such as malware and viruses. The firewall devices will be closely monitored to ensure that the latest software and updates are installed.
Security software such as anti-spyware, anti-malware, and anti-virus programs will be improved to detect and remove malicious code if it comes into the network. The programs and systems will be updated regularly (Nibusinessinfo.co.uk. 2021). This will incorporate intrusion detectors that will monitor the systems and unusual network activities. all users will also be trained regularly to keep this data center secure. They will need to understand their role and relevant policies and procedures concerning data security.
The Cloud Computing Infrastructure
While the on-premises data center will be used for storing sensitive information and allow remote consultancies, the Medical firm will also look into adopting the cloud. The cloud-based services will provide I.T. as a service over the internet or dedicated network, with ion-demand delivery and payments done when needed. The two fundamental considerations in implementing this hybrid cloud include the fact that business processes are digitally enabled; hence extensive availability and operational performance are critical to the Medical firm’s operations. Also, thirty new staff are expected to staff the new Coventry site, yet they do not have the technological infrastructure. They will need to be procured for them to start operations.
As a large medical center looking to scale, the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is preferred as its service model to control the cloud infrastructure. In this model, the infrastructure will collect both hardware and software to allow the cloud’s fundamental traits: on-demand self-services, wide network access, polling resources, dynamic elasticity, and measured services. This will also consider the physical machines such as servers and abstraction layers such as the virtual machines. The Medical firm is considering its health systems, temporary health centers set up across the country, medical practitioners, and support entities with a high number of staff and a large number of documents; it is essential that the organization has control over the operating systems, storage, and deployed applications. While the entity will not have full control over the cloud infrastructure, the department gets control over networking components and firewalls.
The Medical firm would still choose the software as a Service (SaaS) model or the platform as a Service (PaaS) service model, but the two would not meet the centers’ needs. SaaS would allow the users to run the entity’s computer applications remotely with a thin client not needing to maintain anything (Pahl et al., 2013, 2). However, SaaS is only efficient in smaller physician practices where there is a non-existent I.T. staff. This would not fit the medical firm’s extensive healthcare operations, increasing with the spread of COVID-19. For PaaS, the client gets to have more control over the applications since they control the custom applications specifically designed for the entity. The model is, however, fit for mid-sized medical practices with a decent-sized I.T. department. The scalability needed by the Medical firm will, however, still be inadequate for the Medical firm.
In this case, the hybrid cloud model is preferred. It combines the benefits of computing resource elasticity provided by the public cloud and maintains control of their confidential data and the mission-critical applications within the on-premises infrastructure (Kunwal et al., 2017, 240). This approach will provide for main capabilities that the Medical firm will benefit from in the long run: flexibility in switching between the private and public cloud, cost efficiency that is getting maximal performances at relatively affordable prices, scalability where the center could easily scale up depending on the real-time needs without directing an upfront infrastructure and ultimately, security as the cloud providers work to provide maximum security as clients access public clouds and servers. Generally, the hybrid cloud will seek to allow a number of functions such as the storage of databases and applications in the private and public clouds create virtualized servers are virtualized machines with physical resources being configured for every application to run, migration and replication of the virtual machines between the two clouds, provide flexibility, allow the secure transfer of data through the virtual private networks through the two clouds and within them (Azumah et al., 2018, 156).
For the private cloud, the computing powers will be available via a virtualized environment where the owners will have greater control over the security of information stored within the cloud. For the public cloud, the services will be available in a virtualized environment via physical resources shared and accessible via the public network such as the internet (Dahale and Hinge, 2). The Medical firm will have server virtualization achieved by transferring several physical servers into virtual machines. The virtual machines will utilize the physical resources of one system. Considering the Medical firm has digitized all their operations, they have different information systems for different purposes, including administration, patient health care systems, and partner support information systems (Dahale and Hinge, 2). The server to the systems are located in one location, but communication between them will be done via Virtual private Networks so that information is transferred securely.
Microsoft Azure is the preferred cloud provider for the system as it will avail several options to allow more flexibility and scalability. The Medical firm will have a virtualized server. The patient information system database is installed in the virtualized server from Azure on the virtual machine. Other information systems such as the administration systems and the partner support systems will be hosted in the public cloud in Azure (Dahale and Hinge, 3). An internal virtual network is to ensure the connections between the elements of the public cloud. The private and public clouds will be connected using a secure private network-based certificate pair. Certificates ate an encrypted form that will be decrypted using digital keys. The administration will need to request the connections to be functional.
The virtual private network to be incorporated will extend the private network within the entity in a public network such as the internet. The computer devices will be allowed to send and receive information through the shared network as if it was directly connected to the private network while accruing benefits such as functionality, security, and private network management. The private network is established through virtual connection point to point via dedicated connections, virtual protocols, and traffic encryption. The virtual private network will have the users access the entity’s intranet accordingly, even while in remote locations, and access other resources from different trusted networks.
Coventry in the south of England to oversee the Medical Firm’s business interest to cover the growing demand for remote consultations. The site will bring in thirty new employees to cover the staff shortage after some of them are redeployed to support the temporary Nightingale hospitals. In this case, the site will handle more administrative functions of the firm as they ensure that all stakeholders are working towards their attainment, patients can reach out to consultants at any time, and information within the center will be input, transferred, and stored securely without the risk of data breaches. In this case, the assumption is that each employee is conversant with technology without the need to be trained in using basic computer applications. Each of them will have access to a digital device, either a laptop, smartphone, or tablet, at any given time.
The first consideration is the network topology to be implemented at Coventry. A network topology is a way in which the network elements are mapped. It describes both the network nodes’ physical and logical arrangements (Kaur, 2021, 1). The physical topology is looking into the configuration of cables, computers, and other peripherals. Considering that the center already has many I.T. staff and will scale further, the proposal is to have a wireless network that will adopt the star topology (Studytonight Technologies Ltd, 2021). in this topology, each node is connected to a central hub to ensure data gets distributed wherever it needs to go. In the center, all the digital devices belonging to users, together with other administrative devices such as printers, will be connected to a wireless access point (hub) that is normally a router for the local network and a bridge for the internet. One evident benefit is that the network will be suitable for both wired and wireless networks.
One disadvantage of the star network is that if the hub, which is the system’s center fails, then the entire network quill stops existing and leaves devices unable to communicate. Notably, the I.T. team will constantly monitor policy to ensure that the hub remains efficient. The network also depends on the devices within a particular distance from the hub. To this effect, a hybrid topology is to be incorporated where a bus network will be connected to the star network (Studytonight Technologies Ltd, 2021). The center is expected to have several clusters of nodes, and hence each node gets connected to the router to form the star network, then the routers get connected to form a bus network in-between. This combination will ensure that a wider area will be covered even when the scalability needs arise.
The basic wireless peer to peer network comprises several components, including the wireless router. Wire-based connections and the wireless NIC (Etutorials.org, 2021). The wireless router makes up the network’s heart as it is the central location where all the devices will be connected to gain network access. The wireless hubs are the access points to the internet and also manage the wireless connections. The standard wire-based connection to the wireless hub is required to connect ethernet ports and have routers to a broadband modem (Etutorials.org, 2021). The wireless NIC (wireless network information card)for communicating to the wireless router the digital devices come with a wireless NIC except for the desktop computers purchased as an option (Designing a Wireless Enterprise Network, 2001).
The Class B Ipv4 class is preferred for this private network with the I.P. addresses using the first two octets in identifying the network and the last two octets for identifying the host. The network I.D. will have 14 bits, while the host I.D. will have 16 bits (Paessler, 2021). The first two bits of the first octet are always set to 10. the class B I.P. addresses have been designed for medium-sized companies (Colocation America, 2021). This class will ensure that the growth of the company’s network is not limited.
In looking to ensure that computer networks are more efficient, subnetting is a process to develop a fast, efficient and resilient computer network. Subnetting is primarily dividing a network into two or smaller networks (Field Engineer, 2021). it increases the efficiency levels in routing while enhancing network security and reducing the broadcast’s size. Larger networks have greater traffic levels, efficient routes to avoid any sluggish and inefficient backlogs (Field Engineer, 2021). As a firm, subnetting will ensure that efficiency and order are maintained within Coventry even when it seeks to expand technologically. In subnetting the network, the natural mask will be extended with several boats from the host I.D. portion of the address. This allows the creation of the subnetwork I.D. (Cisco, 2016). The I.P. Address Manager (IPAM) has an automated subnet discovery wizard that is to be used in the discovery and collection of information on all subnets. This will show the I.P. addresses and have them imported, the traffic and sizes of the network also identified, and the I.P. addresses are optimized to the subnets to meet their needs. The interface will allow grouping and organizing subnets and I.P. addresses to streamline the location of information needed.
This report proposes computer infrastructure options that need to deal with a new and broader network’s present challenges and select the right infrastructure models for the Medical firm. An analysis of the two infrastructure models: on-premise and cloud computing, was used to determine the preferred infrastructure model. In this case, a hybrid model has been preferred: the on-premises infrastructure to house the primary data center in Manchester city and the hybrid cloud to handle the numerous task activities of the Health Firm. The data center stores sensitive patient information, while the cloud ensures that the activities are run accordingly without directing great capital costs. Virtual private networks will be incorporated to boost the security of the information stored and in the transfer.
The report proposes having a wireless network implemented about networking, which will not need many physical infrastructures. The wireless networks will not need physical networks, are specifically useful for remote access for users with portable digital devices, cable faults and cable breaks are eliminated. They will signal any interferences and security issues that raise concerns. The expansion within a wireless network is not limited, and it can be done without disturbing the current users. Generally, the wireless network was a solution to the company’s present networking needs that saw expansion as a fundamental requirement. It also does not want to use many financial resources in physical networking resources but streamlining the networking to avoid any buffering and further downtimes. A hybrid topology of a bus and star topologies is incorporated to cover a wider network and The Class B Ipv4 for the I.P. addresses. A subnetting process will also be incorporated to expand the network further and bring in new users as the need arises.
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