J11.1 Transition of GOES Enterprise Managed System (GEMS) to Operations

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 1:30 PM
606 (Washington State Convention Center)
Subir Vasanth, Avaya Government Solutions, Lanham, MD; and A. Agarwal, R. Dahmani, S. Tehranian, and K. McKenzie


NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) provides timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, and enhance the Nation's economy, security, environment, and quality of life.  Since 1975, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) has been a critical component in providing a complete global weather monitoring system. The GOES Program continues to be paramount to the success of the NESDIS mission.

The Office of Systems Development (OSD) Ground Systems Division (GSD) intends to make a number of architectural upgrades to the GOES ground system components in an effort to extend the longevity of the system, increase operational reliability, combine functional components into a single architecture, and reduce long-term maintenance and operations costs.  The GOES Operations Ground Equipment (OGE) components, supporting the GOES I-M and GOES NOP series of satellites, must be maintained at least through 2020 after which the existing series of satellites are retired and GOES-R will be the primary GOES constellation. The transition of the OGE to a next-generation architecture presents many challenges due to the variety of computing platforms, hardware, operating systems, and legacy applications.

The components that constitute the GOES Operations Ground Equipment (OGE) — including the Sensor Processing System, Replacement Product Monitor (RPM), Orbit and Attitude Tracking System (OATS), SPS Database Servers, and Consolidated Analysis Workstations (CAWS) — have evolved over the years. These various components use different hardware platforms and operating systems, some of which are outdated and in need of major upgrade. To keep these systems running for the foreseeable future and to enable them to handle larger data requirements, NOAA has planned a gradual migration of the OGE components to an enterprise-level, blade-based, and scalable architecture. This will lower operations and maintenance (O&M) costs by taking advantage of emerging hardware and software technologies.

An “As Is” IT assessment of the existing architecture of the GOES OGE was conducted in 2008, and a roadmap and consolidation strategy to migrate the existing OGE components to a next-generation state-of-the-art architecture was laid out.  Employing enterprise management capabilities and economies of scale, an enterprise managed system for the GOES constellation was developed under the acronym of GOES Enterprise Managed System (GEMS). 

The GEMS architecture has tremendous potential for the Ground Systems Division (GSD) and the continuity of operations (CONOPS) for the GOES OGE. It significantly reduces ground system life-cycle costs, improves future standardization between component systems, standardizes O&M of OGE components, provides reliable operations with hot backup and fault-tolerant component systems, enhances IT security, and provides enterprise management capabilities. The intent of the new architecture is to have an enterprise managed system that will host the entire GOES OGE components including the SPS, RPM Servers and Clients, SPS Database Servers, CAWS, and possibly the OATS.

Using a phased approach, the OGE components are migrated to a more centralized low-maintenance blade-based architecture.  The RPM Server was the first OGE component to be migrated to GEMS.  Its role within the OGE is to provide landmark registration, and to monitor and analyze the quality of the image and non-image data broadcast in the GVAR data stream. GEMS units consisting of RPM Servers were successfully deployed at NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF), Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station (WCDAS), Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station (FCDAS) and Wallops Backup Unit (WBU), and are planned to be transitioned to operations in August 2010.

The SPS is the second OGE component that is migrated to GEMS. Its role within the OGE is to process Imager and Sounder instrument data from the GOES spacecraft and generate a GOES VARiable (GVAR) formatted data stream for real-time transmission back to the GOES spacecraft.  There are currently 10 operational SPS units at NOAA facilities: seven at WCDAS, two at FCDAS, and one at WBU.  Starting August 2010, next-generation SPS units based on the GEMS architecture will be deployed at WCDAS, FCDAS and WBU, with the goal of transitioning to operations in early 2011.

This paper describes the design, development, testing, deployment, and transitioning of a next-generation Enterprise Managed System (GEMS) at WCDAS, FCDAS, WBU and NSOF.


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