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The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research launches new infrastructure on Amazon Web Services

In November of 2015, the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research arrived at Cornell. Very quickly it became apparent that in order to provide a stable experience to their membership, the existing single-server infrastructure would need to be replaced with a more modern and scalable solution. To solve this problem, the Roper Center launched its new infrastructure on Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

AWS and Cornell’s Cloudification team provided the tools required for a successful transition. The single server infrastructure has been replaced by a load balanced setup. The Roper Center is now currently utilizing five EC2 servers, three Elastic Load Balancers, two RDS servers, and Static file hosting on S3 and Route 53 to tie everything together.  Additionally, they are utilizing Direct Connect in order for cloud resources to access the archive, which is housed in the Cornell server farm.

This new arrangement also includes two “gatekeeper” nodes that route traffic to its various backend services. These gatekeepers are utilizing nginx for proxying and caching purposes. They also have two Docker Machines that are sitting behind an Internal Load Balancer for the running of containerized applications. These Docker machines are currently each running a copy of their inherited Coldfusion application as well as the new version of their very popular Presidential Approval application.

“The new infrastructure could not have been implemented without the assistance of the entire Cloudification team,” says Janet Heslop, IT Director and Security Liaison for CISER, CRADC and the Roper Center.  “Thank you, Paul and Shawn for your particular efforts during this process, setting us up with SSO access to AWS, our Direct Connect pipe, and troubleshooting any issues that we experienced along the way, like those pesky network ACLs!”

With elevated page traffic during this year’s presidential campaign, the Roper Center appreciates knowing that their members will experience seamless accommodations as they surf the archive and datasets.

If anyone has any questions or wants to discuss details further, please reach out to: Brandon Kowalski (btk44) or Tim Parsons (tep46).

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