CQ University COIT20265 and COIT13236 Capstone and Tutor Proposal

CQ University

CQ University COIT Capstone Design and build a secure, responsive, reliable, scalable, and resilient distributed system

Assessment No: 1

COIT20265|Network Design

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CQ University COIT20265 and COIT13236 Capstone

Design and build a secure, responsive, reliable, scalable, and resilient distributed system


The main aim of this project on COIT20265 and COIT13236 (The Global University) is to build a secure, reliable, scalable and resilient distributed system in order to support online learning operations of the university. Some examples that TGU University aims to include are ‘Video-on-Demand’, ‘Electronic Portfolio’, and other crucial parameters that are given in the assignment.

General Requirements

As per requirements of the assignment, learning management system will be configured as known as ‘Moodle LMS’ which will be based on four-tier application architecture. Moodle package will be downloaded from internet and will be configured on the system. This system will operate 24x7 as student can access it anytime from a remote location. Although this system will fall under the industry-standard where high data availability will be guaranteed. Along with this system, I will configure various network and services which are prominently required to automate its some operations. Primary services such as real-time streaming of online lectures, chat, online group meetings etc. will be configured along with HD video quality. All the services which are running on this system will be compatible with other web browsers, namely Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Safari and will offer full compatibility for macOS, Windows and even mobile operating systems. The overall working of this system will be leveraged through 5G digital cellular network in order to provide higher speed.


Network Design

For this project, I will design logical design and physical design in order to reflect the entire scenario from back-end to front-end. Along with it, justification for each design will be given, which will help to understand how network works and how services are delivered to customers. Network diagram will include type of connections, operating systems, databases, servers, firewalls, connections among various CDC’s etcetera.

Security Requirements

For advanced security parameters, I will implement higher security in order to defend malware attacks. The basic requirement of project is to deliver online lectures, although an authentication mechanism will be set up, which will require two-factor authentication and mobile number verification to ensure authentic user is accessing the Moodle. Furthermore, in this distributed system, I will configure load balancers, proxy servers, NAT and reverse proxy server in order to hold the load on the system. IPv4 addresses will be assigned to devices for the internal network address Moreover, I will make a ticket window counter in this system which will work from event detection to final resolution in case of any security event. For this, I will configure intrusion detection and prevention system, which will analyse all the potential threats to the system. After fulfilling these requirements, I will harden the Moodle using cyber-security risk management approaches in order to make sure secure protocol are used. The default port of various services such as SSH, FTP etc. will also be changed to other TCP port in order to maintain integrity. Furthermore, I will close the open ports and enable the automation of password recovery and change.


After implementing the practical, I will perform penetration testing on the created system using tools offered by OWASP. Although this testing will be performed on Kali Linux operating system. Total of 10 tests will be performed on the system, including SQL injection, SSRF etc. The results obtained from penetration testing will be affixed within the final report.


Project Plan

In project plan, I will include entities, nature of the project and aim of the project. Although scope for the project will also be defined using a brief description of deliverables. The project plan also includes the statement of works and project constraints & assumption in order to document every single information. Some other information will be expressed using RACI MATRIX and GANTT chart (created in Microsoft Project Software). The last section will include risks associated with project and suitable mitigation actions.

  • Progress Report: Progress report for each week will be prepared in order to analyse the percentage of work done.
  • E-Portfolios: I will prepare weekly e-portfolios which will include personal reflections and issues faced with team members.
  • Final report: A brief executive summary will be provided in this final report which will summarise purpose, goal, scope and other crucial parameters. I will do literature review for the large distributed systems and will recommend suitable infrastructure along with its justification. Furthermore, I will perform analysis on network where logical network design and physical network design will be discussed and designed appropriately. Apart from this, security challenges will also be discussed that can be faced while adopting cloud infrastructure. I will also include disaster recovery and business continuity plans in it. The last section of the report will consist of the screenshot for each task performed for configuring the system and even for penetration testing. Each source will be referenced appropriately and will be added in the reference section.

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TUTOR PROPOSAL FOR : COIT20265|CQ University COIT Capstone Design and build a secure, responsive, reliable, scalable, and resilient distributed system

The Global University


The Global University (TGU) is one of the world’s largest online learning universities with more than 250,000 students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate studies worldwide. At TGU, all education services, courses, programs and units of study are internally authored and delivered online both synchronously and asynchronously using TGU’s proprietary network infrastructure. TGU’s headquarters is in France, where it houses around 2,000 academics and about 4,000 administrative, operational and student support staff. In France, TGU also has a world class learning and teaching research centre (LTRC) with about 1,000 research staff. Since its inception, TGU has structured its academic operations into faculties; but just recently, TGU decided to consolidate its operations into seven schools, namely,

  • 1. Arts and Social Sciences,
  • 2. Business and Economics,
  • 3. Education and Language Studies,
  • 3. Engineering and Maths,
  • 4. Health Sciences,
  • 5. Learning Technologies and
  • 6. Science.

TGU network infrastructure interconnects its operations with the global research and education network community across multiple 100 gigabit per second (Gbps) dense wavelengths division multiplexing (DWDM) leased links over multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). TGU has four (4) strategically located private cloud data centres (CDCs) in Japan, Argentina, India, and South Africa respectively. Each CDC is typically equipped with application servers, virtual machines, physical machines, load balancers, bare machines, storage and Internet access.

At each CDC there is also a proprietary remote access laboratory, the university uses to support laboratory experiences for students enrolled in STEM units (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). A remote lab is a set of network-connected physical devices that can be observed and controlled at distance. Lately, these laboratories are becoming an issue for TGU because of their age, lack of interoperability, and high running costs. TGU decided to upgrade these remote labs by a state-of-the-art massive open online laboratory system (MOOL) offered as services (Lab as a Service or LaaS). The LaaS, conceptualised in Figure 1, features a modern service architecture typical of cloud computing [1]. From Figure 1, there is a lab service provider and a lab service consumer. Stakeholders can be teachers, students, learning designers, and lab owners.

Similarly, TGU uses a customised proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) to support the management of learning, teaching and research. The LMS server (located in the headquarters) is nearly at the end of its lifetime, and like the old remote labs, TGU has decided to replace it for a more contemporary GNU General Public Licence. After an extensive research, TGU opted for Moodle [2] as the LMS to support its learning, teaching and research operations. There are hundreds of plugins for Moodle, extending the features of Moodle's core functionality. Table 1 lists some examples of plugins TGU aims to use:

Plug-in Aim
Video-on-Demand (VoD) To stream video lectures
Electronic Portfolio To enable students to keep their journals and learning experiences
Web Conferencing To support web conferencing including real-time online classes, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration
LaaS via Moodle To support the learning experiences of students enrolled in STEM units (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
SCORM Content Authoring To create reusable SCORM content
Academic Integrity To promote academic integrity, streamline grading and feedback, deter plagiarism, and improve student outcomes
Learning and Academic Analytics To track students’ learning experiences, personalise the learning environments, and improve the academic practices in general.

TGU goal is to become the world’s largest online learning university by providing learning environments tailored to the learning needs of contemporary students. To that end, the following is the list of requirements to consider.

Statement of Works

TGU is concerned that changing its infrastructure from proprietary to commercial-of-the-shelf solutions (COTS) (LaaS and Moodle) will likely cause a big impact on the security of its operations. On these grounds, TGU has contracted YOU to conduct a preliminary assessment of the situation and recommend the senior management on the feasibility of the project. This should include:

  • A business analysis and recommendation to TGU of the most appropriate infrastructure to host the Moodle LMS and LaaS integration. You need to recommend from a mix of on-premises private and third-party; or fully public cloud services; or hybrid (private clouds running on rented datacentres spaces). Your business analysis should be based on five factors, namely, compliance, performance, privacy, cost, and control. In your final recommendation, you should justify your selection in terms of technical issues concerning the security, responsiveness, reliability, scalability, and resiliency of the system. This is not a copy and paste activity. You should contextualise your analysis and recommendation in accordance with TGU requirements and goals.
  • Using both the general and security requirements; and the background outlined in the introduction of the case study, conduct a thorough analysis and design of the new network infrastructure (Moodle and LaaS integration). As part of this, and based on your recommendation on point 1 above, provide a logical network diagram before and after the change of the infrastructure. Make sure to use the recommended internal range of private IPv4 addresses. You may use Packet Tracer or any other network diagram tool to draw your diagram.
  • For the new network and system infrastructure, use the NIST Special Publication 800-30 Guide for Conducting Risk Assessments [3] to recommend a cyber security risk mitigation strategy to TGU.
  • Using the NIST Contingency Planning Guide 800-34, provide a tailored Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) and a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) [4] that meets TGU business goals.
  • Based on your cyber security risk management approach in point 3 above, provide a proof of concept (PoC) to demonstrate the security of the Moodle LMS as implemented in a four-tier architecture (see Figure 2).