by Bill Appleton • November 30, 2016
We are seeing many educational institutions adopt the DreamFactory REST API platform for a variety of innovative purposes. In some cases educational institutions are developing API services for internal use, and in other cases these services are provided for students writing applications. Hopefully this blog will outline how DreamFactory is being used in an educational setting, and maybe give some other colleges and universities out there some new ideas on how to take advantage of the platform. Here are some recent customer examples.
Online Career School
A nationally accredited online career school located in the Northeast United States decided to move all of their information infrastructure from on-premises hosting to the cloud. As part of this process, they needed to migrate quite a few legacy IBM DB2 databases and other hosted services to Amazon EC2 servers. In addition, they wanted to modernize their infrastructure, and purchased DreamFactory Silver to expose their database and other administrative services with a comprehensive REST API. DreamFactory is being used as the gateway for all database access in the cloud.
One challenge was that the school has thousands and thousands of students enrolled, and they needed their REST API to support over 100,000 simultaneous transactions at any given time. Our use of JSON Web Tokens allows the DreamFactory platform to run as a stateless image, and so multiple instances of DreamFactory running behind a load balancer can be used to support use cases like this with a very large number of simultaneous transactions.
The initial implementation will use LDAP to provide authentication for the IT staff and administrators. This will provide role-based access control for anyone needing to read or write data. The next step is to open up some data to the students enrolled at the school. This will let them develop innovative applications that can safely and securely access student information in the cloud.
A large public research university based in Australia also decided to open up some of their internal information systems to students for application building and other purposes. In this case they needed to combine information from quite a few internal systems into a single API platform. Most of the data was in an Oracle database, and they also had some other SOAP services that they wanted to expose.
They decided to run DreamFactory Gold on premises in order to provide a single comprehensive REST API for all of these different backend services. Administrators and students gain access to the API services through their existing AD/LDAP system. User management with role based access controls are used for security. Some sample mobile applications are provided to show students how to get started. We are sure that there will be lots of innovation on this platform when students start building their own mobile applications.
Over here at DreamFactory we think it’s really cool to see what educational institutions are doing with the platform. In some cases massive scalability is important, and in other cases the ability to provide an easy to use service platform for students is what matters. We are seeing other educational institutions using DreamFactory strictly for internal administration. If you work for an institution of higher learning please drop us a line and let’s see what we can do together.
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