As FI$Cal passes another landmark on our journey into the cloud, we plan to leverage what we have learned to be even more innovative on behalf of our customers. Absolute reliability is a fundamental system requirement. Late last year we set out to quickly revamp our Disaster Recovery (DR) system. In collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the critical DR infrastructure was put in place in less than two months on the AWS platform. Using AWS tooling including CloudEndure, we were able to migrate on-premises virtual machines to the cloud with little complexity.

We chose AWS because of its industry-leading global infrastructure. This gave us the ability to quickly deploy resources without any long-term commitments, licensing, or other types of punitive contracts. We had the flexibility to scale on-demand, up or down, at whatever speed we needed, and without penalty.  Over the coming months, we will be continuing to mature the DR solution, which will culminate with a full production operations test in the new DR environment. The work is arranged into three elements:

  • Expand critical infrastructure to include all FI$Cal systems and incorporate existing operational best practices.
    • During this phase, we will be laying down our own in-house solutions and best practices for infrastructure and application-performance monitoring. We will be looking to certain AWS services to continue to deliver on our promise of security. Amazon CloudWatch will give us the ability to gain complete, single-pane-of-glass visibility into our infrastructure resources.
  • Copy production data and conduct business validation and performance tests.
    • We will be working with our partners at the California Department of Technology to deploy a redundant 1Gb direct connect pipe into AWS. Once this is in place, we can continuously replicate production data to AWS with minimum lag and without impacting production operations. Amazon’s Database Migration Service will help us migrate our production databases quickly and securely. For ongoing “near real time replication” we will continue to use our existing operational tool, Oracle Active Data Guard.
  • Execute DR test.

As part of our journey to the cloud, FI$CAL will continue to invest in structured training and organizational change management workshops for internal staff. The goal of this initiative is to equip the state to execute maintenance and operations of the system in its entirety, not just technically, but procedurally as well.

We are incredibly proud of the FI$Cal team. They worked long hours to come up to speed on the new platform within a few weeks, delivering a solution that would have taken months, if not years, using the traditional model.

FI$Cal aims to complete the cloud based DR implementation by October 2022.