NESDIS was actively planning to transform from a system-centric organization to a product and service-centric organization by migrating toward a cloud-enabled NESDIS Ground Enterprise (NGE). The NGE includes all IT systems used for data ingest, processing, storage, and dissemination across all NESDIS Offices and Programs. NESDIS was seeking specialized Subject Matter Experts (SME) to advise, assess, evaluate, and recommend innovative technologies, solutions, practices for the proposed transformation. These SMEs are highly experienced, knowledgeable about cloud-native services provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure, as well as NOAA/NESDIS services and systems to provide critical technical feedback and recommendations. GAMA-1 understood that to provide secure and timely access to global environmental data and information from satellites and other sources to anyone in any place (authorized users) while protecting the Nation’s security, environment, economy, and quality of life, NESDIS needed to transform from the system-specific, stovepipe architecture into a service-centric enterprise. We acknowledged that changing the culture is NESDIS’ primary challenge during its transformation efforts.
GAMA-1 recommended establishing an end-to-end cloud solution that simplifies existing on-premise data centers and infrastructures to transform NESDIS from a system-specific enterprise into a service-centric mission delivery framework. This solution enables future missions, fleets of environmental satellites, and partners for decades to come. In order to achieve this, we captured NESDIS’ current on-premise architecture. During this process our Senior Cloud Architect maps existing solutions, functions, and services to NESDIS’ Cloud Service Framework. We work with the NESDIS Cloud IPT, the NOAA Cloud working group, NESDIS program offices, and other governing architectural bodies (e.g., NEAC) to establish the target NESDIS Cloud Architecture.
GAMA-1 knew NESDIS’ cloud strategy was an iterative process and needed support throughout its lifecycle. Our team assists NESDIS in continuously seeking to refine and mature the cloud computing approach and maintain open communications with NESDIS stakeholders. This includes not only evaluating and validating innovative technology but also providing industry best standards and practices that influence cloud strategy for adopting and migrating into the cloud.
Our team worked closely with NESDIS Security Architects to ensure the future NESDIS cloud framework adheres to Federal (e.g., HSPD-12, TIC, FedRAMP), Commerce (e.g., ECMO, CITR), NOAA (e.g., Common Controls: ArcSight) and NESDIS regulations. As part of our approach, GAMA-1 infuses security as part of the solution from the onset via our Government-tailored focus on DevOps. Within our methodology, we IaC via TerraForm or CloudFormation as appropriate, to implement services securely and compliantly. We adopt a continuous focus for automation as a constant function.
GAMA-1 continues to provide guidance in infrastructure movement techniques following our iterative approach to cloud migration activities. During the assessment phase, we evaluate the system or application that needs to be migrated. We suggested the use of on-demand development labs in AWS for NESDIS. The on-demand development labs mimic production and allow for full testing and validation. We performed a migration analysis to identify any risks inherent, mapping of function to cloud services and develop a plan to mitigate those risks when migrating into the end-to-end framework. We emphasize leveraging all of the cloud components, including the scalability and redundancy, to keep the application performing acceptably.
An unprecedented level of collaboration between federal and contractor staff to efficiently and quickly deliver success for NESDIS – A no small feat!
NESDIS is being recognized not just across NOAA but across other federal agencies and partners as trailblazers with the use of Cloud Technology – In large part due to the relentless effort and work our team has put into this project.
Collaborative Project with Federal and Contractor Teams
Agile Software Development: Demonstrated that Agile software development CAN and SHOULD be used in NESDIS to deliver business value faster – this is a big cultural change and our team proved it’s achievable.