This post was written by
Geoff Bessin

The Intuiface Cloud: What You Need To Know

The Intuiface Cloud: What You Need To Know
This article is about the world you don't see, the scene behind the scenes that is core to Intuiface operations and the delivery of a satisfying user experience. We're talking about Intuiface Cloud Services.

INTRODUCTION

This article is about the world you don't see, the scene behind the scenes that is core to Intuiface operations and the delivery of a satisfying user experience. We're talking about Intuiface Cloud Services.

It's not like lifting a log in the woods so see what crawls beneath.... Well, for some of you, maybe it is an equivalent. Maybe the last thing you want to hear about is IT infrastructure. We get it. We've been there. But just because you don't know how to change the oil doesn't mean you shouldn't rely solely on faith that the engine won't fail on the open road.

IT infrastructure is the domain of unsung heroes. They toil in obscurity and typically receive recognition only when things go wrong. Things going right means no news and thus no visibility to the hard work and dedication that has gone into it.

You're using it every day. Let's take a quick peek into the hidden world of the Intuiface cloud!

WHAT IS THE INTUIFACE CLOUD?

More than 15 independent services are chugging away in the cloud and, as an Intuiface user, you're dependent on most of them every time you settle down for a day with Composer or Player.

These services can be divided into three categories. Here's a sampling of what's going on behind the scenes:

  • Cloud Storage

   - Experience storage management

  • Business Management

   - User authentication

   - License activation

   - Remote deployment

   - Experience publishing

   - REST Web Service interface asset creation

   - Web Trigger mediation

  • Analytics

   - Analytics data management

Below is what this world looks like from twenty thousand feet:

We'd like to pretend that this is how we conceived of our infrastructure from Day One. That would be a lie. On the other hand, something we did do - [pats self on the back] - is anticipate the eventual need to expand our infrastructure to accommodate new, unforeseen services. This required the adoption of open standards and smart architecture to ensure we could add without breaking anything.

WHAT IS THE INTUIFACE CLOUD MADE OF?

All Intuiface cloud services are hosted on AWS - the Amazon Web Services infrastructure. You've probably heard of it because AWS is everywhere. Even Netflix uses AWS. What's nice for Intuiface is that AWS delivers a high level of security, near-guaranteed availability, and local access throughout the globe. We could never match such a high level of integrity so it was a no-brainer to adopt rather than try to reproduce it in-house. There, now you know the pitch for infrastructure outsourcing.

Most Intuiface customers are using what we call "Intuiface Cloud Storage" when publishing experiences for design collaboration or remote deployment. Intuiface Cloud Storage is just AWS. (Technically, it's AWS S3 - their Simple Storage Service.) When you first log in, we are able to detect your geographic location and assign your instances of Composer to the closest AWS. This minimizes the network latency that can impact experience upload/download times.

Intuiface cloud storage

Another thing we didn't want to reinvent was infrastructure management. There are lots of good third party options that can help us keep tabs on things.

At the heart of our Cloud Status page is an Atlassian offering known as Statuspage. It's what they call a status and incident communication tool. Basically, it's a home for displaying server availability and issue triage. According to Atlassian, all Statuspage customers from around the world combined to log more than 194 years of collective incidents in 2018. By comparison, Intuiface has practically reached Six Sigma heights! :-)

To help our IT team stay on top of issues, we adopted the software New Relic. It's a magnifying glass that actively tracks server performance and health, flagging anything out of bounds. It sends alerts to our IT Team when issues are identified and permits a detailed view of each and every server component to facilitate diagnosis. The goal is early, rapid identification of issues and resolution of those issues. We take this very seriously.

(If you're wondering, there is a parallel technology to New Relic that we use for our client-side software, called Sentry. With it we can actively monitor Composer and Player issues both during development and while running in the field. It flags problems and helps us pinpoint the issues rapidly. If you've ever taken a look at one of our diagnostic logs, you've seen the fruits of this adoption. Now you know why we're able to fix bugs so quickly!)

YOUR INTUIFACE CLOUD DASHBOARD

Did you know that Intuiface displays up-to-the-minute cloud status information on a publicly accessible website. It's true! We announced it back in June of 2018 but we're not sure how many of you noticed.

Check it out: https://status.intuiface.com

Intuiface Cloud Status Monitoring

Having had a taste of the Intuiface Cloud's importance in the previous section, you can imagine the value of a website dedicated to tracking performance, identifying issues, and displaying messages from IT Support as they track down, diagnose, and repair issues.

Launched in June of 2018, here's how we've done so far:

  • Management Console (e.g. licensing, Player management, remote deployment): 99.82% availability (9hrs of downtime out of more than 5040hrs)
  • Analytics (e.g. data point storage and data export): 99.84% availability (8hrs 20mins minutes of downtime out of 5040hrs)
  • API explorer (REST Web Service interface asset creation): 99.89% availability (5hrs20mins of downtime out of 5040hrs)
  • Web Triggers (routing 3rd party triggers to the appropriate Intuiface experiences): 99.99998% availability (4mins downtime out of 4050hrs)

The goal, of course, is zero downtime, but our performance is still something to be proud of. Looking at past incidents, many were actually due to hitting service quotas imposed by Amazon AWS, our cloud infrastructure provider. In other words, they were growing pains as more and more customers jumped into the Intuiface pool.

Bookmark our Cloud Status page and reference it every time you perceive there may be a server issue of some kind. Our IT staff are automatically notified of issues (see the previous section) and will use both Twitter and the Cloud Status page to note that issue investigation and resolution is underway. You'll know what we know when (rare) problems occur.

OUR PLANS MOVING FORWARD

It's a continual evolution, of course, influenced not just by needs of scale, customer requests, and feature developments, but also by government fiat. GDPR is the latest example of external realities requiring accommodation within our walls.

Of particular note for Intuiface in 2019, as a reaction to the proliferation of information security standards and corporate expectations, is our investment in ISO 27001 certification.

Intuiface ISO 27001 in progress

ISO 27001 defines the requirements for producing an information security management system (ISMS), a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information so that it remains secure. By achieving ISO 27001 certification, Intuiface can ensure its customers that all information stored on our AWS-hosted servers are secure and protected from theft and loss.

The process is a long one, probably taking the entire year. It's value, however, is immeasurable and just another example of how Intuiface's goal is to exceed expectations - even in the places most people don't see.

Geoff Bessin
Geoff Bessin

Officially, Intuiface's Chief Evangelist. Unofficially, Intuiface's #1 fan

Guest Blogging
Interested in writing for our blog? Click the button below:
Write for us!

Other Articles

All Articles ➜

What's Intuiface?

The world's premier platform for creating, deploying, measuring, and managing interactive digital experiences without writing one line of code.
C