Provide support services to all users of CISL resources

Distribution of work requests
The CISL Help Desk received 10,250 ExtraView tickets in FY2016 and directed more than half to the appropriate service groups in CISL. The CISL User Services teams closed 4,700 support requests after interacting with service groups as needed.

CISL has a strategic commitment to provide robust, accessible, and innovative services and resources to researchers in the atmospheric and related sciences, including the broad university community, Climate Simulation Laboratory (CSL) users, NCAR researchers, and University of Wyoming users. As part of that commitment, CISL provides its users with responsive and knowledgeable support services. CISL’s success in supporting scientific goals and enabling scientific impact depends in equal measure on understanding the needs and research objectives of its user community, and on integrating CISL’s resources, capabilities, and services in response to those needs. Our success can be measured in part by the high demand for current and future CISL resources in FY2016.

NCAR is one of only a small number of institutions with the resources and support services necessary to conduct high-end climate research, model development, and support for field campaigns. As a discipline-specific computing center, CISL is able to provide the capabilities and skill sets required to support important computational campaigns with on-demand resources that include those driven by unfolding natural disasters.

In FY2016, CISL user services began offering access to the CMIP Analysis Platform – a new service that will allow university researchers to tackle a broader range of climate analyses, began the groundwork associated with the deployment of the next-generation Cheyenne environment, continued to enhance the production Yellowstone environment, supported Yellowstone users as the system delivered ongoing daily utilization in excess of 95%, and increased training opportunities to help users make effective use of this powerful resource.

CISL’s strategic commitment to support services includes 24x7 frontline user support, extensive online documentation, and consulting services for providing in-depth expertise. CISL’s User Services Section (USS) unites four functions – the CISL Help Desk, Consulting Services, Documentation, and Accounts and Allocations – to streamline and coordinate user-oriented procedures and support activities.

CISL tracks user support activity for this growing community using an ExtraView trouble ticket system. In FY2016, the ticket system recorded 10,843 tickets to the CISL Help Desk, a 5% decrease from the FY2015 total. The average number of log entries per ticket was 4.50, and communication with users was highest on complex cases. Of the total tickets submitted, the Help Desk team closed 2,754 tickets in an average of 3.61 days (median, 0.73 days), or 230 per month on average. In the same period, Consulting Services staff resolved 1,617 more-complex requests with an average response time of 24.3 days (median, 7.7 days). An additional 329 user support tickets that were fielded related primarily to managing allocations and accounting, with an average response time of 6.29 days (median, 0.87 days).

This work supports CISL’s computing imperative to provide hardware cyberinfrastructure customized for the atmospheric and related sciences. This ongoing service for users is supported by NSF Core funds including CSL funding.