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Frequently Asked Questions

Here you’ll find answers to all your questions about Sparx in the Cloud, our Expert support, and all kinds of solutions from Ability Engineering

You might have noticed that there are no prices on this website, except as examples.

That’s because every customer requirement is different. For the simplest solution – Repository hosting – there are lots of different factors which affect the price: number of repositories, the type of DBMS you need, which cloud provider you want us to use, where it’s located, whether you need super-high performance or additional availability options. We can even manage your repository in your own hosted environment. And there are many more choices depending on which cloud hosting option you select…

So rather then have a huge list of options and prices, we can just talk to you, we’ll find out what you need, and get right back to you with a price.

Our cloud providers implement all the latest cloud security standards and practices, including:

  1. Data-at-rest encryption
  2. Data-at-transit encryption
  3. 100% Compliance to AWS Foundational Security Best Practices
  4. 100% Compliance to CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark

Our default platform for hosting your data is AWS, the most popular hosting company, with an excellent record of secure hosting.

AWS Cloud is compliant with the following:

  1. CSA – Cloud Security Alliance Controls
  2. ISO 9001 – Global Quality Standard
  3. ISO 27001 – Security Management Controls
  4. ISO 27017 – Cloud Specific Controls
  5. ISO 27018 – Personal Data Protection
  6. PCI DSS Level 1 – Payment Card Standards
  7. SOC 1 – Audit Controls Report
  8. SOC 2 – Security, Availability, & Confidentiality Report
  9. SOC 3 – General Controls Report
  10. General Data Protection Regulation

See the Amazon EU GDPR for more details.

Your organisation probably already has information hosted in the cloud, and our hosting experts are happy to talk to your security team if they have any more questions.

One of the benefits of using the larger cloud providers is that they let you choose where your data is physically located. This might provide you with a performance benefit, or you might need this to comply with company or national hosting requirements.

For more details, see AWS hosting locations (“Available Zones”) and those for Microsoft Azure.

By default we offer AWS as a location for your data, just because this is what most customers ask us for.

We also offer Microsoft Azure, because that’s the most popular alternative to AWS.

If you already have a cloud provider you’re happy with, we can still help you. Our skills are in the setup and maintenance of your EA environment, and we can apply that detailed knowledge to any cloud platform.

If your local standards mean you must run EA inside your own ‘cloud’, we can still help you. So long as you can arrange for our experts to be given the appropriate access and permissions, we can setup your EA environment just the same as if we were using a public cloud.

If you have already bought EA licences, we can re-use them in a Sparx ‘SAAS’ implementation.

We can convert the licences from single-user to floating, and use the Sparx floating licence server to make those licences available to SAAS users.

And we’ll even take care of renewals and the purchase of more licences as they are needed.

Strangely, no.

Most users are connected to a shared EA repository database, which is located somewhere in their company IT infrastructure. So the performance of EA is determined by how fast that network operates, and the performance of servers at the end of it.

In our SAAS setup, the machine running your ‘virtual’ EA desktop, and the repositories it uses, are located very close to each other so they perform really well. And the SAAS ‘app streaming’ function means that only the changes to the appearance of your EA desktop get sent down to your browser.

This makes it fast, and also means it can work well even over low-capacity internet connections. As example, our demo EA SAAS setup runs over a 1.5 mb/sec link, and the performance is about the same as an all-local EA setup (EA using a local EA repository on the same machine)

But don’t take our word for it – let us show you with a Test Drive

(N.B. EA SAAS is currently only available for AWS hosted solutions)

 

The short answer is yes – you could do it yourselves.

But think of all the extra skills you’ll need, and the work you’ll need to do.

You’ll need hosting experts who can setup your cloud in a secure and high-performance way, install all the EA components you need – Sparx EA, Pro Cloud Server, Prolaborate, any Prolaborate integerations, the EA licence server – and any local MDGs and add-ins.

You’ll also need to setup your SAAS images, and hook them up correctly to the rest of the Sparx infrastructure.

You’ll also need the staff to monitor and maintain this setup, and deal with changes to all of these software components.

So overall, we think it’s more economic, and lower-risk, to have all this done by a team who do nothing else. And who have experience of delivering similar solutions to loads of other customers.

Our team have experience of lots of older EA versions, so this isn’t a problem.

If you wish, we can work with you to update your EA version, which is easy if you’re using the SAAS approach, because testing and upgrading to new EA versions is part of the service.

We’ll create a new EA image using the latest version of EA, and we can check that it behaves the same way as your existing setup.

And we can even train and support your users in using new versions – we find this is the largest issue, as Sparx seem to move all the menu options around each time there is a new release.

All Sparx in the Cloud hosting solutions include dedicated ticketing and rapid response times for all types of platform support issues. Whatever combination you choose – hosted repositories, EA SAAS, Prolaborate or all three – you can be confident of world class support.

The standard support package included with your solution covers both infrastructure and tool support, as sometimes (particularly for new users) it may not be clear whether an issue is a simple one of using EA correctly or something that needs to be fixed in the hosting environment.

With Sparx in the Cloud support, the modeller who raises the ticket doesn’t need to know what type of problem they have. Our team will diagnose, resolve and provide a response to you, whatever the problem.

For larger teams, or those needing more in depth modelling, EA or Prolaborate support, we have a range of addtional premium support options – see Supporting your team

Our Premium Support packages provide support from our EA Experts in the Cloud. These includes many who are first-language speakers of a range of languages. And of those, most can provide support in a variety of specialized areas of EA, such as Archimate, TOGAF, SysML etc.

We can’t promise to provide experts in all combinations of national language AND EA modelling area, but we’ll discuss this as we understand your support requirements.

For more information please see Supporting your team

This is what we do best.

There are lots of ways to make EA information available to non-EA users.

The simplest (for users and consumers) is Prolaborate, which we can host and maintain for you. Prolaborate gives consumers of your EA information access to EA via custom views and dashboards – we can also help set these up for you.

If your consumers use other web tools, such as Confluience or Jira, then having your EA environment in the cloud makes this much simpler. Just tell us what integrations you need, and we’ll make them happen.

And if your consumers just need documents, we also have experts who can help you make those documents as effective as possile, using either the native EA ‘RTF’ generator, the more advanced eaDocX generator, or even your own home-grown document creation approach.

Our team of EA Experts can also help you with any other EA-related tasks.

Whether that’s importing information into EA, setting-up and running a model governance process, or even joining your team as Architects or designers, we have talent in all kinds of areas. Just ask us – we’re happy to help if we can.

Find out more

Yes. All Sparx technology extensions and MDGs work in the cloud exactly as they do on a desktop installation. If you have created your own MDGs they can be installed and provided to all your users in exactly the same way as for a desktop installation.

eaDocX customers can also create smart documents in the cloud. Watch eaDocX in the Cloud to find out more.