92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Thursday, 26 January 2012: 2:30 PM
Deployment and Transition to Operations of a Next-Generation Consolidated Analysis Workstation (CAWS) Utilizing Virtualization and Thin Client Technology
Room 356 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Rachid Dahmani, Avaya Government Solutions, Lanham, MD; and S. Tehranian, A. Agarwal, S. Vasanth, and K. McKenzie

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) is a major NOAA system that provides complete global weather monitoring. It consists of various hardware and software components located at four NOAA sites: Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station (WCDAS), NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF), Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station (FCDAS), and Wallops Backup Unit (WBU). The major functional elements of the GOES ground system are the Sensor Processing System (SPS), Replacement Product Monitor (RPM), Orbit and Attitude Tracking Subsystem (OATS), and OGE Data Acquisition and Patching Subsystem (ODAPS). Other GOES ground system components include the Consolidated Analysis Workstation (CAWS), SPS Database Servers, and the GOES I-M/NOP Telemetry and Command System (GIMTACS/GTCAS).

In an effort to extend the longevity and increase the operational reliability of GOES ground system components, the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), which operates GOES, planned and started implementing an architectural upgrade of the GOES Operations Ground Equipment (OGE) components to the GOES Enterprise Managed System (GEMS) architecture. This architecture consolidates hardware into a single compact enclosure where electronic components, power, and cooling can be shared, and has built-in redundancy for disks, network connectivity, power supplies, and cooling fans to ensure uninterrupted operation. It also provides more centralized and efficient management, low maintenance costs, reliable short-term and long-term data backup and recovery, and can be easily expanded in the future by adding storage and network capacity to handle additional data requirements.

One of the main OGE components is the CAWS which hosts several GOES applications used for analysis of GOES products and monitoring of some GOES components. The main applications hosted on each CAWS are (1) RPM Client used for analysis and monitoring of real-time and archive data, landmarking, and image navigation and registration analysis, (2) SPS Modernized History Browser (MHBR) used for display and analysis of historical data archived on the SPS, (3) SPS Monitor Console used for monitoring processes running on the SPS, and (4) Grid Database Utility (GDBU) used for generating Earth grids needed by the SPS.

Originally CAWSs at the four NOAA sites were installed on standalone workstations that are obsolete and without vendor support. To ensure the continuity of operations of the CAWS, these workstations have been successfully migrated to a GEMS architecture using virtualization software and Thin Client technology. There are up to three CAWSs hosted within a single blade server, but additional CAWSs can be added to each blade server through additional virtual machines. Consolidation and virtualization of CAWS offer the advantage of reducing hardware footprint and facilitating the management and monitoring of different systems from a single location. Also, each CAWS can be remotely accessed from any location using a dedicated Thin Client.

The migrated CAWSs have been deployed at the four NOAA sites where they have been integrated into the existing OGE infrastructure and are undergoing comprehensive testing. After successful testing, they will be transitioned into operations where they will seamlessly replace the old CAWSs without any disruption to operations. This paper discusses the migration of the CAWS to the GEMS architecture. It describes the virtualization process, required modifications to software applications, deployment to different sites, transition to operations, and performance of the migrated CAWS.

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