Web and Mobile solution for Non-profit organizations

Technologies Used

HTML MySQL WordPress

Executive Summary

Open Gate Sangha, Inc. is a prominent spiritual nonprofit organization that obtained tax-exempt status in 1996. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, our organization has a global reach, resonating with individuals worldwide who are attracted to the profound sincerity of Adyashanti and Mukti’s spiritual message. Through the collaborative efforts of our dedicated staff and volunteers, Open Gate Sangha diligently promotes these teachings via In-Person and Online-Programs, Publications, Broadcasts, and Media.

Open Gate Sangha is dedicated to serving a global community of over 30,000 users by offering a wide range of teachings and products in various formats such as text, PDF, audio, and video files. Our website provides both free and paid audio and video streaming services, including live and archived content, and handles high levels of concurrent traffic. In addition to managing user profiles, event registrations, donations, scholarships, and content provisioning, we also offer community-related services including accounting, reporting, and content management.

The Challenge

Open Gate Sangha initially hosted its infrastructure on various shared and dedicated servers provided by Lunar Pages (now Host Papa) in Los Angeles, CA. In the beginning, the infrastructure operated effectively. However, as membership grew both domestically and internationally, and new users joined from around the world, the existing resources became insufficient to handle the increased demand. The servers went from experiencing moderate loads to being overburdened by the high volume of visitors, especially during online programs that attracted thousands of concurrent members from across the globe. Managing and provisioning the necessary infrastructure to deliver a high-quality, content-rich experience globally while mitigating heavy traffic and spikes became increasingly challenging.

This project offered a valuable chance to update the client’s infrastructure stack, abstract essential services for regional distribution, and transition to a scalable and adaptable cloud services model with load balancing on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud platform.

The updated AWS Cloud infrastructure is designed to provide enhanced security and compliance measures, ensuring high availability of services for Open Gate Sangha. With the capability to scale based on current load conditions and the implementation of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) automation, the organization can streamline its deployment processes. Furthermore, the new infrastructure enables the creation of distinct environments for deployments, quality assurance, staging, and production, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Our Solution

The IndaPoint team has partnered with Open Gate Sangha to conduct a thorough analysis and pinpoint areas that need improvement. Leveraging our 15 years of experience in IT/development management, we have gained deep insights into their systems and operations, as well as a comprehensive understanding of their business requirements and software dependencies. Subsequently, we embarked on creating a new AWS Cloud-based architecture aimed at ensuring high availability and eliminating any potential single points of failure.

The new architectural strategy was executed in two distinct phases. The initial phase prioritized enhancements in scaling, performance, and security, while the subsequent phase focused on implementing a robust structure for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). The existing architecture incorporates a conventional load-balanced design and includes auto-scaled groups of application instances distributed across multiple Availability Zones to ensure seamless operation and high availability.

At the database level, we utilized Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) and AWS ElastiCache in multi-AZ setups. RDS supports database encryption using keys managed via the AWS Key Management Service (KMS).

By leveraging AWS ElastiCache, our service seamlessly facilitates the deployment, operation, and scaling of an in-memory data store or cache in the cloud. This allows for seamless adjustments in response to fluctuating demand, ensuring optimal front-end availability at all times.

We utilize AWS S3 for storing user data, images, and other resource-intensive content. With a multi-node architecture, it optimizes asset delivery by caching regionally, resulting in reduced latency for end-users. Additionally, we leverage AWS S3 for instant deployment of mirrored code snapshots across all front-end web servers.

AWS CloudWatch services provide essential monitoring capabilities to track performance metrics and receive notifications about system failures. This proactive approach enables businesses to take early action and implement mitigation strategies.

To maximize availability, ElastiCache was utilized to deploy Memcached, the distributed memory object caching system, across a minimum of two Availability Zones in each region.

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is a dedicated virtual network within the AWS account, offering an additional layer of security and logical isolation from other virtual networks in the AWS Cloud.

All web applications accessible on the internet are directed through the AWS Elastic Load Balancer for optimized performance. In our updated infrastructure, AWS ELB efficiently directs all website traffic, including dynamic pages, to a network of primary webservers. The web applications of Open Gate Sangha benefit from extra security measures through the use of CloudFlare (https://www.cloudflare.com/l) WAF, a proxy security and DDOS protection service. This service allows us to customize web security rules, providing control over the allowance or blocking of specific traffic.

For CI/CD processes, we leverage AWS CodePipeline and AWS CodeDeploy for efficient deployment and configuration of applications on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. AWS EC2 is a secure and scalable web service for cloud computing. CodeDeploy is seamlessly integrated with AWS Auto Scaling, ensuring minimal delays between launching new nodes and deploying applications.

Working closely with the Open Gate Sangha team, we thoroughly tested and made necessary adjustments to all client applications in the new AWS environment. Our team also effectively managed any additional requirements that arose. In addition, we developed comprehensive documentation that encompasses all aspects of automation, provisioning, and handling for each environment.

The Benefits

After completing the migration to the new AWS environment, Open Gate Sangha has experienced a multitude of advantages.

  • The infrastructure is now distributed across multiple Availability Zones; single points of failure no longer exist. They are seeing zero failures during their online events/retreats where thousands of members join concurrently from various countries and they stream online video.
  • The system expands and contracts based upon demand so the customer is not paying for continued expensive high-scale servers only needed during peak loading. This has allowed the company to stay away for capital expense and pay a variable expense.
  • Content rich assets are cached and delivered regionally significant reducing latency for their end user.
  • Server-side memory caching is utilized significant reducing latency for their end user.
  • Improved security with multi-layered AWS abstracted credentials, and DDOS protection.
  • Improved monitoring, with deep insight into the infrastructure’s health and current loading allowing early response to any issues.
  • Increase speed and agility in deploying, decommissioning additional services

The company has transitioned to a modern virtual cloud environment, which allows it to pay only for the resources it currently uses, eliminating the need for pre-provisioned contracted hardware. This shift has led to significant cost savings and reduced infrastructure management.


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