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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 was 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 used advanced capabilities 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 employed an enterprise information systems approach that is fairly unique. We used a model that accommodated diverse data sets and scales for growth, eliminating large-scale changes and their associated disruptions to daily operations. The DB team followed a carefully planned transition that introduced incremental changes that were easily assimilated into operations and adopted by users. We employed expert management and repeatable processes to ensure system availability and high-quality performance. And, we provided an organization that fosters a blend of skills in many different areas.

DB’s support on the CLASS program included:

  • Program Management. This involved proactive management of CLASS activities and the development of continuous improvement processes with an emphasis on risk management. We managed schedule and cost performance using an ANSI 748-compliant Earned Value Management System (EVMS). Our processes achieved a CMMI Level 3 rating for development.
  • Systems Engineering. This involved 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 involved the use of the latest design and development techniques and software frameworks. Software releases were iterative, and DB is moving toward an accelerated development process.
  • Database Administration. This involved the sustained engineering and maintenance of the database that archived and provided access to millions of files. DB ensured all files were secure and that the highest level of data integrity is maintained.
  • Customer Support. This involved detailed knowledge of users’ data access issues and particular science application needs. Our operations team had the ability to diagnose and resolve users’ problems accurately and quickly.
  • Large-Scale Data Storage and Retrieval Services. This involved providing data storage and retrieval services that ensured CLASS delivered 99.9 percent operational availability. DB ensured any operational site was 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 involved the use of a sophisticated, automated program that consistently received high praise for its continuous system monitoring performance. DB provided engineering support that ensured system modifications were compliant with security architecture and requirements. We worked 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 involved ensuring that CLASS’s high-availability objectives were met while data was delivered in a timely manner to thousands of customers worldwide. DB’s system administrators offered a wide range of skills needed to support the hierarchical storage management system with over 100 servers and a high-capacity, three-site 10Gbps network.

*Home page photo courtesy of NOAA.