Introducing Cloud Services
The Sparx Systems Cloud Services solution provides seamless access to Enterprise Architect models in repositories held anywhere in the world, providing high performance for remote access, secure encrypted links and optimization for high latency WAN connections.
Cloud-based repositories provide easy access to models, not only for people within your local team but also for remote team members, external customers and consultants with Internet access, anywhere around the world. Collaborative and distributive modeling and design are dramatically enhanced by using a Cloud-based repository, which can provide the shared backbone for a wealth of development scenarios.
This section will:
- Familiarize you with the concepts of the Cloud Services
- Discuss considerations of when and where you should use a Cloud server
- Walk you through the process of setting up a server
- Walk you through the process of connecting for the first time
- Highlight some of the additional functionality available through the Cloud server
- Outline working with Active Directory using IIS
Enterprise Architect models are stored in databases, such as MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle. Traditional installations of Enterprise Architect require each user to install the appropriate drivers for each DBMS, and in some cases define an ODBC DSN with the database connection details.
When connecting to a Cloud Server, the procedure for a user to connect to a model is dramatically simplified. For users connecting to models stored in a Cloud Server, the process is as simple as entering a single URL to the provided Cloud repository. No special drivers or further configuration is required.
Connecting to a Cloud Server provides a number of key benefits:
- Improved performance for models used for distributed development. The Cloud Server provides benefits to connections that involve high latency and reduced data transfer speeds.
- The process of setting up drivers and connections is performed once by an administrator during the server configuration. The only set-up required on a user machine is to install Enterprise Architect and to connect to a model on the Cloud server.
- Database servers no longer have to be exposed through a firewall; the Cloud server can be run from inside the corporate firewall. All model connections are created using HTTP, allowing firewalls to completely isolate your database server.
- A Cloud server can be configured to encrypt all communication. Using standard TLS/SSL protocols, you can be confident that your data is not intercepted during transmission on insecure networks.
- A Cloud server can be configured to provide HTTP-level authorization to any model taken directly from the model user list. Even when the model is exposed on a public network, you can be assured that only authorized users are able to access your model.
- A Cloud server can be configured to provide read-only access to any model; for example, for clients required to review a model.
The Sparx Systems Cloud Server runs as a Windows Service, accepting network connections from Enterprise Architect clients and sending the data required by the system back over the network. As with any web connected service, there are security concerns that must be addressed when setting up a new service. To help you minimize risks, consider these points:
- If any data is considered private, always use an HTTPS connection and require user authentication; there is an option on each of the service's database configurations to prompt for this
- There is an implicit trust in sharing a model with anyone; security is available in models, which prevents a wide range of possible interactions, but with Enterprise Architect's flexibility determined users can circumvent this
In particular, Model Search SQL queries can be run in a number of places that allow data to be read that would not otherwise be accessible, including user IDs and hashes of their passwords; to block this type of access for a list of users, you could use Global Authentication instead of Model Authentication, as discussed in the Cloud Server Configuration Help topic
Sparx Systems Cloud Services Products
Sparx Systems offer two configurations of their Cloud Services product.
- The core product, Sparx Systems Cloud Services, is integrated with your Corporate, Business and Software Engineering, Systems Engineering or Ultimate edition of Enterprise Architect, although it is separately installed; it contains the Cloud Server, a Management Client, optional HTTP support, and Firebird ODBC drivers
- Sparx Systems Pro Cloud is a separately purchased and licensed product that contains the core Sparx Systems Cloud Services plus the Sparx Systems Keystore and floating license server, Row-level security for Oracle and SQL Server based models, and WebEA - a web based application that allows users to access Enterprise Architect models through a browser, while on portable devices or remote desk-top systems that do not have Enterprise Architect installed
Sparx Systems Pro Cloud is available in three editions, to support small, medium and large projects with differing numbers of models; the editions have the same installer but require different access keys to install them:
- Small Business, which supports up to three Firebird repositories; Row Level
Security is not available in this edition, as the feature is for Oracle and SQL Server
- Team Server, which supports up to five repositories of any type
- Enterprise Server, which supports any number of repositories of any type, within any
restrictions imposed by your server and network
Before you go on to set up the Cloud Server, Sparx Systems recommend that you watch the 'Introduction to Sparx Systems Cloud Services' webinar, which you can access by clicking on this link:
You can also watch this webinar, which demonstrates setting up a MySQL repository on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud using Amazon Relational Database Services (RDS), and creating and configuring an Enterprise Architect project in the repository via the Cloud connection.