This is a sample case study that may be used on the Professional Cloud Architect
exam. It describes a fictitious business and solution concept to
provide additional context to exam questions.
TerramEarth Case Study
TerramEarth manufactures heavy equipment for the mining and agricultural industries.
About 80% of their business is from mining and 20% from agriculture. They currently
have over 500 dealers and service centers in 100 countries. Their mission is to
build products that make their customers more productive.
There are 20 million TerramEarth vehicles in operation that collect 120 fields of
data per second. Data is stored locally on the vehicle and can be accessed for
analysis when a vehicle is serviced. The data is downloaded via a maintenance port.
This same port can be used to adjust operational parameters, allowing the vehicles
to be upgraded in the field with new computing modules.
Approximately 200,000 vehicles are connected to a cellular network, allowing
TerramEarth to collect data directly. At a rate of 120 fields of data per second,
with 22 hours of operation per day, TerramEarth collects a total of about 9 TB/day
from these connected vehicles.
Existing Technical Environment
TerramEarth’s existing architecture is composed of Linux and Windows-based systems
that reside in a single U.S, west coast based data center. These systems gzip CSV
files from the field and upload via FTP, and place the data in their data warehouse.
Because this process takes time, aggregated reports are based on data that is 3
With this data, TerramEarth has been able to preemptively stock replacement parts
and reduce unplanned downtime of their vehicles by 60%. However, because the data
is stale, some customers are without their vehicles for up to 4 weeks while they
wait for replacement parts.
Decrease unplanned vehicle downtime to less than 1 week
Support the dealer network with more data on how their customers use their
equipment to better position new products and services.
Have the ability to partner with different companies—especially with seed and
fertilizer suppliers in the fast-growing agricultural business—to create
compelling joint offerings for their customers.
Expand beyond a single datacenter to decrease latency to the American midwest
and east coast
Create a backup strategy
Increase security of data transfer from equipment to the datacenter
Improve data in the data warehouse
Use customer and equipment data to anticipate customer needs
Application 1: Data ingest
A custom Python application reads uploaded datafiles from a single server, writes
to the data warehouse
- Windows Server 2008 R2
128 GB of RAM
10 TB local HDD storage
Application 2: Reporting
An off the shelf application that business analysts use to run a daily report to see
what equipment needs repair. Only 2 analysts of a team of 10 (5 west coast, 5 east
coast) can connect to the reporting application at a time.
- Off the shelf application. License tied to number of physical CPUs
Windows Server 2008 R2
32 GB of RAM
500 GB HDD
- A single PostgreSQL server
128 GB of RAM
4x 6TB HDD in RAID 0
Our competitive advantage has always been in our manufacturing process, with our
ability to build better vehicles for lower cost than our competitors. However, new
products with different approaches are constantly being developed, and I’m concerned
that we lack the skills to undergo the next wave of transformations in our industry.
My goals are to build our skills while addressing immediate market needs through
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