Ace is typical of many medium-sized businesses based in Southern California.
Given the pandemic and a separate business initiative, that was initiated before
the pandemic began, to streamline business operations, Ace is planning a
number of system changes.
Business Facilities, Systems and Changes:
- A Corporate Office, including Ace’s Data Center, its Accounting
Department and its SW Sales Offices.
- Ace’s primary manufacturing facility is located outside of Toronto,
Canada. A second smaller manufacturing facility is located near the
Bob Hope/Hollywood Burbank airport, which handles specialized
custom manufacturing. Ace’s Research and Development Department
(R&D) is housed in a separate secure facility near its Burbank factory.
- Sales Offices are in Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX,
Charlette, NC, New York City and Toronto, Canada. The New York City
office houses several senior executives besides Ace’s NE Sales
personnel. The Toronto Sales Offices are in downtown Toronto
separate from the Toronto manufacturing facility.
- A central ERP System currently housed in Ace’s Woodland Hills Data
- A decentralized CRM System whereby each sales office maintains its
own customers, leads and contacts independent of the other offices.
- The R&D department has its own facility and computer systems, which
are in the R&D Department’s own separate secure facilities.
- Ace’s Data Center currently includes
Separate Servers for the Current ERP system, its ERP Database, File
and Print, DNS, local CRM system and a backup server for the ERP
System and its associated Database in case the primary ERP system
© Jerald M. Savin, 2022. Page 2 of 4 version 1
Networking capabilities for the Corporate Offices and SW Sales
Provisions for VPN connection to Corporate from all remote facilities
Suitable environmental controls for the Data Center
- Ace’s Manufacturing Facilities currently include:
Separate Servers for the current ERP System, its ERP Database, File
and Print Services and local DNS, i.e, every manufacturing facility
has a local copy of the current ERP System and operates off of that
copy with data synchronized nightly.
Networking capabilities for Manufacturing including links back to
- Ace’s R&D Facility currently includes:
Separate Servers for its R&D systems, a SQL Database, File and
Print, and local DNS.
A DMZ for its systems and data.
Networking capability including links back to Corporate.
All R&D data is securely replicated back at Corporate.
- Ace’s Sales Offices currently include
Separate Servers for local CRM system, File and Print Services and
Networking capability for the Corporate Offices and SW Sales
Remote VPN connectivity back to Corporate for ERP access, DNS
and File Services.
- Every Ace facility has an adequate number of desktops, its own File and
Print Services, a local DNS and VPN connectivity back to Corporate.
- All internal files are ultimately replicated back to Corporate.
- Sales personnel that operate out of the various sales offices have
portable computers. They can connect back to their assigned sales
office and Corporate as needed via VPN.
- The Corporate DNS has a backup at Corporate, and remote backups in
Burbank, Toronto, and New York City.
- Internet Connectivity throughout the company is assured through
primary and secondary Internet Connections at all facilities.
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- Ace selected a new SaaS ERP System and began its implementation in
January. The new ERP system will support all of Ace’s manufacturing
- The Sales Offices will be allowed to continue using their own CRM
systems; however, all CRM data will be replicated into a Data
Warehouse in Woodland Hills and stored in backup instances on AWS.
- Ace plans to Open Sales Offices in London, England, Frankfurt,
Germany and Sales Offices and a third Manufacturing facility in Taiwan.
- Ace may add a fourth manufacturing facility in Eastern Europe, but
those plans are very preliminary.
- All of Ace’s manufacturing facilities will use the new ERP system to
control their operations.
- Draw a Diagram of Ace’s Current Infrastructure Architecture.
- Draw a Diagram of Ace’s Future Infrastructure Architecture.
- Prepare a Report summarizing the following:
a. The Current State Diagram
b. The Future State Diagram
c. The Architectural Changes that involved in moving from the
Current Architecture State to the Future Architecture State
d. The Advantages and Disadvantages of these Changes
e. The Impact of these Changes on Risks and Risk remediation.
f. Reflections: List at least a dozen insights you gained and/or
concepts and practices you learned doing this exercise.
- Feel free to fill in any blanks as needed and to embellish the Current and
Future states as you wish.
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Microsoft Visio is frequently used for this type of diagramming. Visio is a
traditional part of Microsoft Office, but it is sold separately, which has limited
its use. But it is still a ‘go to’ product. If you have access to a copy of Visio,
you can use Visio.
Lucidchart is a competing product that offers a free version of its product and
can be used as well for this exercise.
Note: The flowchart symbols were popularized by IBM in the 1960s. See the
image below of an IBM Flowchart stencil.
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