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July 26, 2018

Building Modern Tech for Modern Architects at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

2 mins read

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is a non-profit organization protecting the public health, safety, and welfare through the regulation of the practice of architecture. Technology plays an important role in NCARB’s national programs, which help licensure candidates and architects advance their careers and ensure the profession’s high standards are met. To deliver their bold mission today and well into the future, NCARB’s technology team partnered with Excella to modernize and future-proof their technology.

After experiencing challenges with their hosting provider and problems common to aging systems (long deployment cycles, limited flexibility, outdated technology), NCARB moved ahead with a “lift and shift” approach to modernization. With Excella’s help, NCARB team of developers decided to move forward and modernize their .NET system and move it from a hosted data center/provider to AWS – a technology leap capable of supporting the organization for the next 10 years.

Transforming Technology to Help Architects Achieve Their Goals

The team started “lift” of NCARB’s Microsoft .NET core system and “shift” to AWS with minimum changes to code base itself, improving the CI pipeline and moving toward next level of CD automation. Using AWS Organizations and multiple AWS accounts to support different environments and venture projects with a tagging strategy allowed even more detailed resource management. Satellite applications allowing container use (UI WEB AngularJS applications) were containerized to ensure a faster, iterative build. In phase two, the team will proceed with refactoring  of applications and split the monolithic core into more services and microservices, using existing AWS services to improve performance and cost.

By moving to AWS, all of NCARB’s future projects and applications will use cloud architecture, ensuring the legacy technology issues of their old system are a thing of the past. Today NCARB is building the technology that will take them into the future:

  • Improved Flexibility: The older system’s complex infrastructure did not easily allow for experimentation with new technologies. Today NCARB are advocates of infrastructure-as-code, with every new resource on AWS coded and reviewed by the team. With a more flexible, fluid infrastructure, NCARB has the capacity to test or make changes more easily to meet organizational needs.
  • Faster Deployment: After implementing AWS CloudFormation, organizing resources through AWS Organization and multiple accounts, and adopting DevOps best practices, NCARB can now deliver 50% faster to their architect customers.
  • Modern Playing Field: Freed from the constraints of hosted data center/provider, NCARB is experiencing the benefits of a cloud-based infrastructure. A modernized system allows NCARB team to more easily hire developers and IT support, maintain the system and help the organization keep pace with their customers, creating the products they need and love to use.

As NCARB develops new tools with commercial viability (LineUp:, on AWS using ECS and ECR with Docker containers, the NCARB team has not only gained confidence in cloud architecture – they have enhanced their ability to deliver exceptional service products to a broader audience.

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