Cloud Technologies and Visit Orlando.
Orlando is the vacation capital of the world, hosting over 50 million visitors both domestically and internationally every year. Presently it is ranked as number two as a travel destination in the United States, second to Las Vegas, and beating out Chicago and New York City for the third and fourth spots respectively. Each year, millions of visitors come to the destination, spending money and generating funds for the area through the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collected on hotel rooms, car rentals, attractions, etc. Visit Orlando, Inc., formerly known as the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau, which employs 300+ staff, is a Destination marketing Organization responsible for promoting the destination within the markets outlined above. Different methods are used to promote the destination such as digital advertising campaigns, ad sales, media buys, printed material, website promotion, drop shipping and direct mail publications to name but a few items. The organization receives funding through various sources such as a portion of the TDT collected by the city, membership dues for the companies that choose to purchase memberships with the organization, etc. With approximately 1,800 members. All said, the organization has approximately a $50M annual operating budget that is largely dedicated to the marketing efforts to promote the destination and members of the organization. Presently the organization houses much of their IT resources internally and employs a a small IT staff to support them. Network infrastructure is in the Microsoft stack both for servers as well as desktops. This includes platforms such as Active Directory services, Microsoft Exchange for email, and Microsoft Dynamics GP for the finance system. All database systems presently in place are powered with Microsoft SQL Server, though some are using 2005 and others 2008, all Standard Edition. Desktop systems are leveraging Windows 7 on PCs. At this time, all servers are physical, and various boxes exist for development and test environments. Membership for the organization is managed using an industry specific / proprietary CRM solution known as Destination 3000 (D3) by SMI, Inc. Because of Visit Orlando’s position within the industry, they have been able to influence SMI’s product development and have implemented several customized features and capabilities unique to their organization which has allowed for improved business operations, but has severely limited their ability to upgrade the platform as they are on a separate development branch from the current commercial version. Due to the heavy reliance on the internet and the web, Visit Orlando has a small web development team in house that is working on a custom CMS to manage several different web properties. The websites are developed using Cold Fusion, and a Microsoft SQL Server back end. In total, the web presence as a whole services upwards of about 3 million page views a day. With such a load, Visit Orlando has chosen to host the production website through a third party, and has chosen Rackspace to fill this need. Presently the website is housed across 5 physical web servers in a load balanced, high availability configuration. The websites also displays member directory information online, and does this through a series of ETL jobs from the D3 system into the website SQL server. There is a contractual obligation that prevents direct connectivity of any systems to the D3 server, requiring all data used in external systems to be first extracted and then integrated into its destination. Additionally, the site license requirement for D3 only allows for a single instance of the software to be installed at the corporate office, requiring a secure SSL VPN tunnel to be in place between the Visit Orlando corporate office and the Rackspace hosted environment. Visit Orlando also partners very closely with several well-known theme parks such as Disney, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. As part of this arrangement, as well as with many other members, Visit Orlando sells theme park attraction tickets with an online e-commerce presence currently hosted in the Rackspace environment. A recent audit has revealed, however, the current shopping cart solution has fallen out of support with the vendor and is not PCI compliant, requiring that the solution be replaced. The current solution also integrates with the current POS system at the Visit Orlando Visitor Center (a “brick and mortar” storefront in the Orlando area) in order to properly account for ticket sales, inventory, and proper financial reconciliation.
Due to an influx of stimulus money, Visit Orlando is now positioned to invest in their technical infrastructure and has decided to pursue virtualization and cloud technologies for some of their systems. They have selected three key areas to employ virtualization and cloud resources. The first is the public facing web presence at Rackspace. There is interest in perform a physical-tovirtual (P to V) migration of the current web servers, leveraging the cloud facilities that Rackspace offers from their IaaS service. The second is their local corporate office, looking to review the core server infrastructure currently housing their Active Directory and Exchange services, considering a SaaS implementation to address email. The final effort is to consider replacing their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform leveraging internal IT resources to use a PaaS offering to address their needs.
Please refer to Canvas for specific details on the assignments throughout the course, as this use case will be used throughout the duration of our course.
Cloud Technologies and Visit Orlando.