WWT, AWS and Tableau: Working Together to Ensure Public Safety
In This Case Study
Many organizations are adopting AWS's cloud computing model to provide agility and ability to quickly deploy resources to support applications, initiatives, and the needs of their customer base. The coronavirus pandemic provided a unique opportunity to display the myriad benefits of cloud computing. It is no understatement to say that every organization and individual on this planet has been impacted.
Overnight, organizations had to adjust to meet the needs of a remote workforce to survive. As individuals, we adjusted to new social distancing and safety protocols, experienced anxiety regarding employment status and sought solutions to maintain our mental health. Many of us added full-time teaching responsibilities due to school closings.
During this historic turmoil, front-line health organizations were tasked with the responsibility to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to protect and preserve the health and well-being of the global population. To perform this vitally important duty, health organizations:
- Must define public health goals.
- Must enact relevant health-based guidelines and policies for local communities.
- Must be able to think, adjust and act quickly.
- Need to understand how to wisely allocate limited resources to maximum effect.
- Need data and a system capable of consuming and analyzing great quantities of complex data and visualizing it to aid decision makers as they seek all available options to protect the public.
To empower this endeavor, many healthcare organizations are turning to Tableau, a data visualization tool. Tableau offers organizations the ability to securely and interactively present data and illustrate insights. By viewing and interacting with data, healthcare leaders can make the informed and timely decisions needed to protect residents from the effect of coronavirus. Healthcare organizations that use AWS and Tableau can address the following challenges:
- Create, view and edit reports securely.
- Build reporting environments with object-level permissions to separate internal and public users.
- Securely share data publicly while also denying the ability to downloading the data.
- Ability to embed data visualizations into their web pages.
- Ability to track the traffic to a given report(s).
To help our healthcare client accomplish this vital mission, WWT designed and deployed a secure, multi-account organization via our Cloud Foundation Accelerator (CFA) service offering.
WWT Cloud Foundation Accelerator service overview
AWS Control Tower offers many key services such as AWS Organizations, AWS Single-Sign On, CloudTrail, Config, SNS and the ability to have a repeatable, secure account deployment with Account Factory. WWT's CFA service offering centers around AWS Control Tower and provides our customers with many capabilities such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Utilizing the Account Factory in Control Tower allows for a repeatable and automated account provisioning strategy. Account Factory automates the provisioning of AWS Config Logs and CloudTrail Logs and enables a secure framework of centralized logging for long term archive and central analysis.
- AWS Infrastructure is deployed using Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) concepts to ensure a consistent and repeatable deployment process, especially in multi-account, multi-region organizations.
- Every VPC as part of the engagement has VPC Flow logs enabled. VPC flow logs capture information about the IP traffic leaving and entering the network interfaces within a VPC.
- AWS Security Hub is enabled to provide compliance and security guidance by following Center for Internet Security (CIS) AWS foundation benchmark. CIS is focused on IAM, Logging, Monitoring and Networking and strengthens the security posture of a multi-account environment.
- Amazon GuardDuty, a threat detection service that continuously monitors for malicious activity, is enabled for each AWS Account. GuardDuty analyzes events across many services and send all findings to the central management account and stores the findings for long term archive and analysis.
Many organizations run servers on AWS to take advantage of its flexibility, economies of scale, global availability and not having to purchase and maintain an expensive fleet of physical servers within an on-premises datacenter. At WWT, we have seen the last point as particularly relevant given the CPU, RAM and Storage requirements of most Tableau servers. In fact, for a recent customer, the Tableau server was to be the first AWS EC2 instance because, "we don't have the space to install a Tableau Server within our data center."
Many customers find that deploying Tableau on AWS provides better uptime, reliability and fault-tolerance as AWS provides the capability to expand Tableau deployments across multiple Availability Zones and AWS regions.
As one might imagine, the deployment of a clustered, multi-AZ Tableau environment can present several decision points or challenges that must be addressed. There are challenges related to networking, security, EC2 instance types and backup/restore of Tableau data to name a few.
WWT has and will work with our customers to address any challenges related to their Tableau initiatives. Recently, WWT has worked with our Tableau customers to:
- Design and build multi-node, multi-AZ Tableau clusters.
- Determine the appropriate EC2 instance type using Tableau's load testing tool TabJolt.
- Create Tableau Test/Dev environments a means to test the potential effects of Tableau updates prior to installation on a production system.
- Backup Tableau data/instances to other regions and/or accounts using AWS Backup to support business continuity and disaster recovery guidelines.
WWT's mission is to partner with our customers and enable them to achieve their goals by simplifying the complex tasks of designing and deploying reliable, scalable and secure environments. Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, WWT worked with our healthcare customers to deploy Tableau in AWS to provide the critical insights and data visualizations desperately needed by key decision makers to ensure the health and well-being of each person.
If your organization is facing a daunting challenge, contact us. WWT would be pleased to partner with your team as you look to address and overcome the challenges you are faced with today and into the future.