Distributed services and web engineering

The CISL Enterprise Services Section (ESS) provides the hardware and software infrastructure – including development, deployment, configuration, monitoring, and maintenance – for a variety of Information Technology (IT) services used across UCAR. Examples of these services include organization-wide DNS and DHCP, incoming and outgoing e-mail via SMTP, web content hosting, development and production instances of the Drupal web Content Management System (CMS), and distributed software revision control systems, among others. ESS also provides system administration support for other CISL groups such as the Data Support Section and the Software Applications and Gateway Engineering group.

Agile/Scrum methods
The Enterprise Infrastructure Operations team use the Agile/Scrum methodology to plan work. Implementing this methodology has allowed EIO to improve productivity and transparency while maintaining focus on the team’s highest priorities.

In FY2015, ESS’s Enterprise Infrastructure Operations (EIO) group was faced with a growing number of systems to support, including providing technical support for UCAR’s Google Apps for Government domain and deploying new Infoblox appliances to provide DNS and DHCP services. To ensure that EIO was able to respond appropriately to the highest-priority needs, they adopted a formal Agile/Scrum methodology, dividing project work into two-week “sprints” that permit staff to focus on the most important tasks at any given time. This methodology has been successful in improving productivity and clarity for staff and reducing the number of projects that need to be managed concurrently while giving enhanced transparency to stakeholders in the projects.

Other groups have also adopted Agile processes. The Software and Web Engineering Group (SWEG) has been using Agile/Scrum for some time, and the Security Engineering Group (SEG) has now begun to use it as well. Beyond CISL, various groups within UCAR are seeing value from these efforts, and Agile processes are starting to be applied at the enterprise level.

Also during FY2015, SWEG has continued its work improving the SAM software in support of CISL/USS, particularly in the areas of stability and reporting, and will work next on the synchronization processes for PeopleDB, which in turn are connected to the Identity and Access Management (IAM) efforts described in the Cybersecurity section.

ESS provides enterprise services in support of the Service, Innovation, and Collaboration sections of the CISL Strategic Plan. Support comes from NSF Core and CSL funding, as well as from UCAR indirect funds because the services provided are available to all UCAR/NCAR labs and programs.