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NOAA’s CLASS

Using an Enterprise Information System Development Model to Build, Maintain, and Support the Evolution of One of the World’s Largest Environmental Data Archives
As the managing partner of Diversified Global Partners JV LLC, DB is responsible for the development of the Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS), NOAA’s premier system for the long-term archival and distribution of NOAA environmental data. The DB team has the advanced capabilities needed to support the development and operation of this ever-evolving system that will experience a dramatic 60-fold growth in data holdings and users.

CLASS is projected to reach 20 petabytes of holdings by 2018. It is composed of diverse data sets from earth-observing satellites, in-situ observing systems, and climate model data. This data can be searched and ordered via the Internet.

CLASS serves an international community of customers. Many of these are scientists who focus on climate, atmospheric, and ocean science research, while other users may incorporate the data into a variety of predictive and historical trending applications.

DB’s past performance on CLASS has been exceptional. We exceeded client expectations as measured by a 100 percent award fee for the first contract year for the major system development portion of the contract.

DB employs an enterprise information systems approach that is fairly unique. We use a model that accommodates diverse data sets and scales for growth, eliminating large-scale changes and their associated disruptions to daily operations. The DB team follows a carefully planned transition that introduces incremental changes that are easily assimilated into operations and adopted by users. We employ expert management and repeatable processes to ensure system availability and high-quality performance. And, we provide an organization that fosters a blend of skills in many different areas.

For CLASS, DB provides:

  • Program Management. This involves proactive management of CLASS activities and the development of continuous improvement processes with an emphasis on risk management. We manage schedule and cost performance using an ANSI 748-compliant Earned Value Management System. Our processes have achieved a CMMI Level 3 rating for development, and we are well on our way toward attaining a CMMI rating for services to further improve our overall management capabilities.
  • Systems Engineering. This involves all phases of enterprise information lifecycle support from the design of “to be” architectures, to requirements development and analysis, to hardware and software design, to system integration and validation.
  • Leading-Edge Software Development. This involves the use of the latest design and development techniques and software frameworks. Software releases are iterative, and DB is moving toward an accelerated development process.
  • Database Administration. This involves the sustained engineering and maintenance of the database that archives and provides access to millions of files. DB ensures all files are secure and that the highest level of data integrity is maintained.
  • Customer Support. This involves detailed knowledge of users’ data access issues and particular science application needs. Our operations team has the ability to diagnose and resolve users’ problems accurately and quickly.
  • Large-Scale Data Storage and Retrieval Services. This involves providing data storage and retrieval services that ensure CLASS delivers 99.9 percent operational availability. DB ensures any operational site is able to ingest all available data streams, archive files, and deliver data requests on a near real-time, 24/7 basis.
  • Support for All Phases of Security Engineering. This involves the use of a sophisticated, automated program that has consistently received high praise for its continuous system monitoring performance. DB provides engineering support that ensures system modifications are compliant with our security architecture and requirements. We work collaboratively with the NOAA OCIO to assess risks, execute certification and accreditation, and keep all plans (e.g. System Security Plan, Contingency Plans) and procedures up to date.
  • 24X7 Operations Support. This involves ensuring that CLASS’s high-availability objectives are met while data are delivered in a timely manner to thousands of customers worldwide. DB’s system administrators offer the wide range of skills needed to support a hierarchical storage management system with over 100 servers and a high-capacity, three-site 10Gbps network.
  • *Home page photo courtesy of NOAA.