Thursday, September 13, 2007

Applistructure: The Marriage of Applications and Infrastructure

Arizona State University's hosted PeopleSoft Applications System reflects its first move toward the marriage of enterprise applications and infrastructure technology known as applistructure. The entire system, spread across over 25 UNIX servers, has close to 11 terabytes of disk and a 1/2 terabyte of memory allocated to it. In addition to the UNIX servers, 32 physical and virtual Windows-based servers also support the application system.

The 3 main non-production environments (development, test and training) consist of a production-sized database for each of Oracle's four Enterprise Applications (PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance, PeopleSoft Human Resources/Student Administration, PeopleSoft Customer Relationship Management and PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal). In addition to these 12 environments, there are 15 specialized environments to help support rapid implementation of the entire technology stack. The total 27 non-production environments have over 6 terabytes of space allocated to them.

The 4 production databases consume over 1 terabyte of space. To access the production systems, users encounter their first of many custom integration points in the custom single sign-on process. Users are then routed through load balancers to one of 21 web servers, then on to one of 24 application server domains. To allow for efficient batch processing, there are 9 batch/reporting servers. The partnership between ASU and CedarCrestone's Managed Services Center allowed for the application system to be quickly scaled from a peak of 2,600 concurrent users in March 2007 to managing over 5,800 concurrent users in August of the same year.

In addition to user volume, ASU's Enterprise Applications are also able to provide and consume web services. Integration points such as tuition payments, distribution of PeopleSoft transactional data to University systems campus-wide, and notification of service outages of University systems, have all been redeployed as web services - with more to come.