Enterprise cloud container hosting service now available

multiple computers in a circle with wires running into a cloud in the center
(copyright 123RF)

HITS has approved the first cloud service for web application hosting in Michigan Medicine. Developed by the Academic IT DevOps team, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for Enterprise Container Orchestration was endorsed by the Technical Standards Committee as a strategic technology, architecture, or service that has been evaluated and is preferred for present and or future use.

This cost-effective, reliable, secure platform is now available to departments and groups across all academic medicine missions for web application hosting, including gold tier applications, and those containing Protected Health Information (PHI) or high sensitivity data classifications. 

Under pressure to meet the rising demand for IT solutions, alongside cost pressure and cyber security requirements, HITS is turning toward containers and orchestration to meet the challenging application hosting needs across the Michigan Medicine Community. In 2020, HITS and ITS partnered to expand the reach of the campus Google Cloud services by securing approvals from Compliance and Google to host applications containing PHI. A strong technical partnership is forming between HITS and ITS around Google’s GKE, with a look toward future collaboration and opportunities.

To build this trailblazing service, DevOps took the approach of Infrastructure as Code (IAC), bringing repeatability, transparency, and testing of modern software development to the management of infrastructure such as networks, load balancers, virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters, and monitoring. A primary goal of IAC is to reduce error and configuration drift, while allowing engineers to spend time on higher value tasks. Key technologies of this solution include Terraform and Google Kubernetes Engine. 

During development, DevOps partnered closely with Michigan Medicine Information Assurance to design the platform and process to meet the highest data standards. Researchers can now obtain a test environment in a matter of weeks without sacrificing quality or security. 

In a short time the DevOps GKE platform has grown to host custom and vendor applications such as those for research or administration across all missions and supporting thousands of users. Michigan Medicine HR, The Office of General Counsel, The Office of Research, and Rogel Cancer Center are a few of the customers that rely on this platform today. 

Currently, the Academic IT DevOps and Software Development teams are partnering to architect a full end-to-end integration and deployment pipeline. Components of the pipeline include source code and binary scanning which will surface issues early in the process, even before reaching a test environment. Plans also include expanding the service to support multiple cloud providers.

For more information please submit a Container Hosting consultation request consultation request to HITS DevOps.