Orange County Registrar of Voters

Architecting a Secure and Scalable Environment on AWS

Orange County Registrar of Voters 1

Orange County Registrar of Voters

The Registrar of Voters for Orange County, California serves 1.6 million registered voters. As the fifth largest county in the United States, the Orange County Registrar of Voters (OCROV) is a nationally recognized and award-winning agency, responsible for conducting County-wide, State, and Federal elections, and maintaining voter records in the County of Orange.




Migrate website on to AWS and creating a development environment to support sudden increases in traffic

Services & Tech

Cloud Migration, Cloud Infrastructure

Handling Website Traffic Spikes During Election Cycles

During election cycles, the OCROV website gets heavy traffic. Prior to engaging with Onica, they were experiencing multiple issues with their website provider, with different problems each time. Also, the support they received from their vendor was insufficient and at times frustrating.

These challenges, coupled with the issues they were experiencing, led them to realize that they needed a new security solution that could ensure high availability and provide scalability to handle sudden increases in traffic and activity. They also wanted a robust level of support. All of this prompted them to start looking at what other options might be available to them, including Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

After speaking with their AWS Account Manager, OCROV decided to go ahead with the recommendation to engage with Onica for the project. OCROV was on a very strict deadline, with a goal to get their website migrated to AWS and up and running before the 2018 election, so Onica provided a quick transition from project inception to execution. The Onica team was instrumental in making the migration successful by understanding OCROV’s needs and by following best practices.

Building and Maintaining a Secure, Scalable Solution on AWS

Onica understood that OCROV needed a website hosted on AWS that would provide high availability for scaling, automation, monitoring, logging, and security. Onica migrated their website to AWS, built a development environment, and provided training on AWS development and infrastructure-related best practices.

Onica employed both our Professional Services and Cloud OpsPilot Managed Service teams to the project. Onica’s Professional Services team provided a rapid, agile approach to migrate the website, and to configure the infrastructure and tooling required. Once migrated to and running on AWS, OCROV transitioned to being supported by Onica’s Cloud OpsPilot for Managed Service.

Once OCROV transitioned to Cloud OpsPilot for support, Onica provided continued AWS training, assisted in troubleshooting and resolving issues, and collaborated with OCROV on recommendations, planning, and execution of post-migration infrastructure improvements such as spinning up a development environment.

The new infrastructure built by Onica on AWS was flexible enough to meet high spikes of traffic and demand by auto-scaling without having to over-provision at all times. Onica’s own open source project, Runway, was also used to drive multi-environment AWS CloudFormation infrastructure management. Infrastructure being defined within AWS CloudFormation allowed for non-production environments to closely resemble production environments before promotion.

The infrastructure was built with enhanced security in mind. OCROV, being new to AWS, was excited to have lots of security benefits available.

The Content Management System Onica implemented included configuration management automation with Ansible for their Amazon EC2-based infrastructure. Scaling was based on demand, behind an application load balancer targeting the auto scaling group. The web server’s backend database was made using Amazon Aurora RDS, which was configured to be highly available with multi-AZ enabled.

In order to achieve fault tolerance, high-availability, secure data management and cost management, Onica leveraged Amazon EC2 Autoscaling, Amazon RDS Aurora-MySQL, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon EFS and Amazon SSM Parameter Store.


Great Scalability to support voter traffic

Onica provided significant training to the OCROV team on core AWS and cloud development concepts, teaching them how to reconfigure builds and how the rollout process works. Onica also suggested training and courses for further education on AWS for success.

Establishing and forging a solid, healthy relationship is imperative for a successful team effort. Working on the migration of OCROV’s website in a short amount of time required significant collaboration and coordination, and it was a great success. OCROV was able to benefit from Onica’s proficiency with AWS. Onica was also able to meet the tight schedule for deployment, and provided the knowledge and training that allowed OCROV’s to handle certain tasks themselves.


Why Onica

Onica is a fast-growing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner, helping companies enable, operate, and innovate in the cloud. From migration strategy to operational excellence and immersive transformation, Onica is a full spectrum integrator. Learn more at