By Susan Whitney. I want to tell the story how a systemwide group successfully delivered a complex, well-architected, cross-functional team solution, on time, and within budget. In 18 months, we re-architected and migrated the UCOP Risk Services Data Management System (RDMS 1.0) from an on-premise, Hadoop-based platform to a serverless, data lake platform in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud (RDMS 2.0).
What is RDMS?
The Risk Services Data Management System (RDMS) is a reporting application sponsored by the UC Office of the President Risk Services (OPRS). It equips staff at the UC campuses and health centers with the data that helps them make data-driven decisions to reduce the overall cost and impact of risk. RDMS enables UC systemwide staff to:
- Identify and develop strategies to minimize the impact of risk
- Assess the effectiveness of safety programs
- Ensure the highest quality of care and patient safety across the UC health system
- Monitor claims and claim costs
RDMS was conceptualized in 2015 and hosted within Sherlock’s secure enclave at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) as a Hadoop/Cloudera solution. The UCOP Data Architecture team championed the use of the data lake solution, a leading-edge on-site platform.
When the Cloudera software licensing came up for renewal, it was an opportunity to evaluate other solutions. OPRS initiated the project, and the technical team worked to determine the feasibility of migrating the on-premise platform and application to AWS Cloud Services.
The key requirements were security, cost, modernization, scalability, reliability, and performance. The team identified potential cost savings of $2M over 5 years, achieved primarily by reducing licensing costs, eliminating large capital investment in physical hardware, and realizing efficiencies in staffing due to reduced labor.
Could We Do It?
An initial five-month feasibility phase was critical to securing the necessary buy-in from stakeholders. Several technical challenges were met and resolved, which allowed the team to deliver the key requirements. This led to a commitment to deliver a live, production-ready cloud-services based platform within 10 months.
After reaching critical milestones set along the way, in June 2021 a final go-forward decision was made for October 2021, a mere 5 months away. The team was now facing an immovable deadline due to the Cloudera licensing expiration.
To What Do We Attribute Success?
We met the deadline! It was all about teamwork, as well as,
- Executive business sponsorship that encouraged experimentation with new technologies,
- Business sponsor program management engagement throughout the entire process ,
- Leadership’s trust in the technical teams to experiment and come up with a solution,
- Iterative Agile methodology with clear prioritization,
- Frequent and on-going communication,
- Established and well-maintained relationships with our technical partners and vendors,
- No excuses—it’s just a pandemic, and
- Again, teamwork; we all wanted success.
Who Are these Modern-Day Heroes?
- UCOP Risk Services business sponsors
- UCOP Information Technology Services (ITS)
- Data architecture team, which provided overall design strategy guidance
- RDMS Development team, which re-wrote and tested the entire front end reporting code
- Infrastructure team, which provided DBA, email support, and coordinated with outside vendors for on-going secure data file transfers to AWS
- Identity Access Management & Security teams, which configured the Shibboleth authentication for all campus and medical center end-users
- San Diego Super Computer Center Sherlock Cloud team, which provided an automated and securely managed AWS Cloud platform
- External vendor Kwartile, which transitioned all backend data processes in partnership with UCOP ITS
- UC Davis Risk & Safety Solutions service desk, which provisions the users and provides front-line help support
- Cynergistek, which provided security consultation on the overall RDMS transition to AWS
Want More Technical Details?
Visit this website to learn more about the project.
RDMS team members in top photo from left: Hooman Pejman, Susan Whitney, Leena Patil, Eric Odell, Nilofeur Samuel, Satish Pasupuleti, Swapnil Kamble (kneeling), Anyi Zheng, Vijay Alluri, Sameer Karki, Hima Patlolla, Carlos Garrido-Ramirez, and Emily Weaver. Team members not shown are Surendra Gade and Sundar Thiru.
Susan Whitney is a project manager, Risk Technology Services, Office of Risk Services, UC Office of the President.