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1 Building Success on Acquia Cloud: 10 Layers of PaaS TECHNICAL Guide

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary Introducing the 10 Layers of PaaS... 4 The Foundation: Five Layers of PaaS Infrastructure... 5 A True Platform: Five Layers of Application Development with PaaS... 7 Compare Acquia s PaaS to Hosting Alternatives...8 Summary Layers of PaaS

3 Executive Summary A great digital experience is essential for success in today s digital marketplace. Not only is building, deploying, hosting, and scaling web applications complicated, but leaving resources available that allow for continuing innovation is crucial to ongoing success. To make the most of the resources at hand and to speed time to market, IT professionals have been making the move to Infrastructureas-a-Service (IaaS) offerings from companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace to host their business applications. Those same professionals, however, are beginning to understand that IaaS really isn t the answer to their challenges virtual machines are just a starting point. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is proving to provide the true value in this challenging environment. In addition to hosting, PaaS provides the space to build, test, tune, and deploy web applications in a secure way that guarantees performance. This e-book provides an overview of the 10 layers of PaaS that application builders and managers should consider when evaluating PaaS providers Layers of PaaS

4 Introducing the 10 Layers of PaaS Acquia has identified 10 critical layers of PaaS solutions that provide the technology and business support required for a great digital experience: 1. Virtual resources. IaaS is a key building block for PaaS, but it is only the first piece of the overall solution. 2. High availability. Architecting a redundant environment is an essential part of data backup and disaster recovery strategy. 3. Scalability. Being prepared for large increases in site traffic requires a high level of expertise in site configuration, specifically as it relates to Drupal. 4. Maintenance and optimization. If you build it, you have to tune it. Each piece of technology across the database, file system, and web layers will need to be tuned to ensure performance. 5. Monitoring. You did it before with physical resources, and it s no different with virtual ones. Most PaaS platforms have complex monitoring tools that catch either performance or security threat activities before they severely affect your site. 6. Continuous delivery. PaaS offerings don t provide just virtual resources, they provide a platform for application development. These solutions should include separate environments for development, staging, and production, as well as tools to monitor developer activity, automate testing, and assist with quality assurance. 7. Application maintenance. A true PaaS provider will do more than simply provide maintenance tools. Most offer the option of taking some portion of application maintenance such as security updates on for you. 8. Third-party tools. Most PaaS environments offer integration with third-party tools that are considered essential for web development. For instance, Acquia Cloud integrates easily with GitHub since many Drupal developers use it as their code repository. 9. Application and infrastructure support services. The PaaS provider should offer expertise in application development, as well as the infrastructure. The PaaS provider should be able to serve as an extension of your team when help is needed. 10. Your custom code. The responsibility for building code exists with the customer and typically is not provided by the PaaS provider. In SaaS models, sometimes the code is included Layers of PaaS

5 The Foundation: Five Layers of PaaS Infrastructure The 10 layers can be broken into two major areas. The first of those areas is PaaS Infrastructure. This section details the five layers of infrastructure as provided on Acquia Cloud: Virtual resources. Acquia Cloud is a carefully crafted platform optimized to run highly available Drupal websites. We use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), among six other AWS resources. Acquia has selected, configured, tested, and deployed the best open source platform for this goal. Acquia Cloud provides infrastructure configurations ranging from a single shared server to one or more dedicated servers. To ensure optimal maintenance and upgrades, all Acquia Cloud infrastructure runs the same versions of the Linux operating system, Apache web server, and MySQL database, as well as the Nginx reverse proxy load balancing server and Varnish for page caching. This enables Acquia to efficiently provision, test, manage, monitor, and upgrade the platform. Redundancy. The AWS environment consists of major regions and Availability Zones. Acquia Cloud customers may choose the optimal geographic region for their site s location. Each region contains multiple Availability Zones. AWS Availability Zones are separate yet interconnected data centers within the major regions. Acquia Cloud Enterprise offers high availability by using two AWS Availability Zones in one AWS region with redundant servers serving each layer of the technology stack. This serves as a redundant environment for disaster recovery should an outage occur in the primary/master availability zone. Configuration management. Acquia handles configuration management for three separate use cases: Use case 1. How do we configure the environment for immediate recovery in the event of an outage? Acquia maintains a comprehensive backup solution that includes website code, static files, and databases. Integrated backup facilities use Amazon s Elastic Block Store (EBS) and Simple Storage Service (S3). Acquia makes internal disaster recovery snapshots of all data every hour. These snapshots are programmatically stored in Amazon S3 buckets and used to restore a site in the case of multiple disk failure or total data center loss. Backup data stored in Amazon S3 is maintained in the same region where the production site is located Layers of PaaS

6 Use case 2. How do we configure the environment to add capacity in the event of an unplanned traffic spike? Acquia builds the elastic, virtual server configuration that you need. Using the automation designed by the Acquia Cloud engineering team, Acquia operations is able to rapidly provide a reliable environment and provision new resources on demand that can be active within minutes to respond to changing traffic demands. Acquia uses custom APIs and central management tools to provision new hosting clusters, attach storage volumes, and install software and dependencies to provide uniformity in each customer s environment. Use case 3. How do we configure the environment so that it s secure? Acquia Cloud provides a secure platform where Acquia customers may build and manage Drupal sites. Acquia configures, manages, monitors, and secures the environment where our customers websites run, including the operating system and LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack and network layers of Acquia Cloud. Acquia has a shared responsibility model with AWS for security. While Amazon secures the virtual infrastructure and network and ensures physical security, Acquia secures the OS, database, and web layers. Acquia also has a shared responsibility model with the customer for securing the Drupal application layer. Maintenance and optimization. The Acquia Cloud engineering team is responsible for maintaining and optimizing the platform. The team takes care of all OS, database, and file system updates and uses an agile development processes that enables rolling out new features or enhancements every three weeks. At Acquia, scalability doesn t mean adding more capacity when a site is under strain. It s a combination of three efforts: expert sizing, preventative capacity, and cloud operations managed elasticity. Monitoring. Acquia uses the Nagios monitoring platform to provide instant access to vital, real-time, and historical metrics of the servers that it provisions in the AWS infrastructure. Based on its expertise at managing systems resources for thousands of sites, Acquia has created a system that monitors over 50 metrics, such as disk usage, CPU usage, memory usage, running processes, and so on. Acquia s monitoring systems use alerting and escalation to ensure that our operations team is notified when alerts are generated. Acquia operations team members work on three continents and respond to alerts 24x7. For security monitoring, Acquia uses OSSEC, an open source, host-based Intrusion Detection System (IDS). OSSEC, which performs realtime alerting and active responses, is used to detect brute force login attempts and to alert our operations and security teams. We also routinely scan test instances of each cloud instance with rapid7 and Qualys to ensure the platform is secure Layers of PaaS

7 A True Platform: Five Layers of Application Development with PaaS With the core infrastructure components set, the application development pieces then come into play. The remainder of the PaaS comprehensive offering should include capabilities for: Continuous delivery. Acquia Cloud includes a continuous integration workflow environment for development. This environment comes with separate pre-established development, staging, and production environments. This platform is a full-featured offering that integrates with code repositories, offers drag-and-drop code deployment, and incorporates testing across environments. Customers can also build custom tests with cloud hooks by using our Cloud API. The environment comes with activity logs and activity streams. This environment exists to ensure developers follow continuous integration best practices of developing iteratively in small batches and always testing before pushing code to production. Application maintenance. Acquia actively maintains and enhances the development environment. New features are released frequently and settings are tuned. Customers are encouraged to recommend features to their account manager for consideration in Acquia s product roadmap. Optimization tools. All Acquia Cloud subscriptions include a variety of tools that either help test and tune Drupal applications or extend the functionality on customers sites. Some of these tools are built by Acquia, such as Acquia Insight, which analyzes Drupal code against performance, security, and Drupal best practices criteria. Acquia also offers Acquia Search, which is a completely hosted and maintained version of Apache Solr. Also included in Acquia Cloud subscriptions are free trials of performance optimization tools, language translation solutions, and a variety of marketingfocused tools such as A/B testing and web analytics. Application and infrastructure support services. Acquia Cloud includes world class application and infrastructure support. Our Drupal support team members are experts in diagnosing Drupal application issues, and our Cloud operations team is available 24x7x365 to review monitoring alerts, see when a customer s site is under strain, and help resolve issues quickly. To date, we ve resolved over 120,000 Drupal and cloud operations issues. Acquia s collective expertise for Drupal and cloud operations issue detection and resolution is unmatched. Your custom code. Acquia Cloud customers are able to bring their custom code while we do the rest. There s a shared responsibility with AWS for application security, but otherwise Acquia, via Acquia Cloud, takes responsibility for all of the other nine layers of PaaS Layers of PaaS

8 Compare Acquia s PaaS to Hosting Alternatives ACQUIA CLOUD ACQUIA CLOUD TRADITIONAL MANAGED HOSTING INTERNAL HOSTING DRUPAL TUNED STACK MAYBE DIY MULTI-TIER CACHING SUPPORT DIY DIY SERVER SUPPORT MAYBE x DISASTER RECOVERY MAYBE DIY 24x7 MONITORING DIY DIY SECURITY MAYBE DIY DRUPAL SUPPORT x DIY DRUPAL MAINTENANCE x x DRUPAL ADMINISTRATION x DIY DRUPAL OPTIMIZATION TOOLS x x DRUPAL DEVELOPER TOOLS MAYBE x 8 10 Layers of PaaS

9 Summary Although this paper focuses on the 10 layers of PaaS, it could just as easily have been titled Everything You Need for Web Development and Experience Delivery Success. What Acquia truly enables is continuous delivery. Continuous delivery is an approach to automating and improving the process of software delivery and is becoming increasingly popular in web development as the speed of the web demands faster innovation. Organizations that do not adopt continuous delivery processes and tools are effectively stealing time away from the main focus: building great digital experiences. Instead, your technical staff is fully occupied with tuning and testing the environments they use to build, deploy, and host your site. In a recent report, Continuous Delivery Is Reshaping the Future of ALM, Forrester s Kurt Bittner writes Continuous delivery practices provide the means to replace the manual processes and personal heroics associated with emergency fixes with a regular, controlled, and rapid deployment pipeline. Call us and let s talk about how we can get your first site up and running today! Learn more acquia.com LETS TALK Building a system comparable to Acquia Cloud would take months, a significant staff, and many thousands of dollars. Let Acquia reduce risk, take away a commoditized burden, and complement your team with expertise and better tools. Give your application and operations team the continuous delivery tools they need to stop putting out fires and start building and delivering great digital experiences. e Drupal Gardens 9 10 Layers of PaaS SKU Dream it. Build it. Together. acquia.com Corporate Drive, Burlington, MA 01803

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