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EPA NCC Tech Refresh -- 2004. EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting, 09/14 – 09/17/2004 EPA ORD NERL Lab, Las Vegas, Nevada. Tim Richards GIS Service Manager EPA OEI/OTOP/NTSD Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709 Phone: 919-541-5307 Email: [email protected]

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EPA NCC Tech Refresh -- 2004

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting, 09/14 – 09/17/2004

EPA ORD NERL Lab, Las Vegas, Nevada

Tim Richards

GIS Service Manager


Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709

Phone: 919-541-5307

Email: [email protected]

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Why Have Tech Refresh Now ?

  • A significant portion of the current EPA NCC environment utilizes aging servers that have reached or exceeded the end of their lifecycle.

  • EPA began planning for the refresh over two years ago through the standard EPA capital planning process.

  • The OEMs no longer support many of the servers, while others are coming to the end of their life cycle.

  • It has now reached the point in the process that it is time to execute a replacement of these systems.

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

What’s Included in this Refresh

Why Have Tech Refresh Now ?

What is included in the Refresh?

  • Central Unix

    • Replace shared capacity supporting the Oracle database and middle tier application server processing.

  • GIS

    • Extend Oracle central database platform capacities to support GIS integration in a shared architecture

  • Intranet

    • Replace shared intranet capacity supporting main-site of intranet.epa.gov

    • Replace capacity supporting the search engine for intranet.epa.gov

  • Public Access

    • Replace shared public access capacity supporting www.epa.gov

    • Replace capacity supporting the search engine for www.epa.gov

  • Email

  • Replace 65 hosts supporting the distributed Notes infrastructure

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Why Have Tech Refresh Now ?

Goals of the NCC Tech Refresh

  • Provide a scalable and reusable solution to replace the aging, unsupported and end-of-lifecycle hardware.

  • Integrating various pieces of hardware, software and services to reduce operational costs, control total cost of ownership, and promote customer satisfaction.

  • provide the necessary capabilities to both satisfy existing customer requirements as well as provide a stable and upgradeable platform for future expansions.

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

A Multi-Phase Implementation Process

  • Phase 1: HW/SW Identification, procurement and installation.

    • Analyze the existing inventory to determine which hardware should be replaced.

    • Architect a consolidated solution that is scalable and allows reuse of servers.

    • Make hardware selection that meets the requirements of the architected solution.

    • Procure and install new equipment, licenses and required software.

  • Phase 2: Migrate User software to new system in coordinated effort with end-users.

    • New equipment and old equipment will both be operational concurrently to ensure a smooth transitional process.

  • Phase 3: Disposition of legacy Equipment per Government Guidelines

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

NCC Database Servers Refresh

  • Considerations and criteria for selecting candidate hardware

    • Partition - Be able to be partitioned – allowing for multiple Single System Images (SSI) to reside within the same physical system.

    • Expandability- Be able to be expanded through the addition of CPU’s, memory or I/O.

    • Memory - Accommodate large memory to processor configurations.

    • I/O - Provide sufficient I/O to support current disk/tape/network I/O loads, and be capable of supporting increased I/O demands as requirements dictate.

    • File System - Support a native File system that can dynamically be resized as requirements dictate.

    • Support - Have product (Database) support/verification from Oracle.

    • Sustainable - Be a viable and sustainable product well positioned within the vendors server offering.

    • Security - Leverage an existing/supported (Standard Configuration – SCD) NCC operating system.

  • Two vendors offered technologies that could be considered candidate solutions.

    • Sun and IBM products

  • The geospatial database environment is an integral part of the NCC Database Server environment.

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

IBM Products Outperformed SUN Products

  • For most categories the IBM products outperformed competing SUN products.

    • Independent Benchmark data from SPEC (www.spec.org) favors the IBM products

    • Recent benchmark data from Oracle Corporation favors IBM over Sun in most categories

    • 2004 System Design data from ESRI favors IBM over Sun in most categories

    • Beginning with ArcGIS 9, IBM products with AIX and Linux are at the same ESRI support level as Sun Solaris

    • IBM widened its lead in the worldwide server market in 2003

    • In 2003, the overall Unix server market shrank 4%. But IBM grew 13% while Sun and HP shrank 16% and 4% respectively (www.cnet.com)

Gartner: Future AIX Market Share Growth -By YE08, AIX will grow market share approaching or passing Solaris as the No. 1 Unix operating system (0.8 probability).

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Key Features of New IBM Database Servers

  • The new IBM MLx based server allows for both horizontal (LPAR) and vertical (1-16way SMP) scaling.

  • In addition to supporting current requirements, the proposed systems can be expanded and subdivided to accommodate future requirements.

  • Each ML12 system located within the Public Access and Intranet is configured with 12 FC 2Gb host bus adapters providing a theoretical aggregate bandwidth of 3GB/s.

  • Key features of the IBM Logical Partitioning (LPAR)

    • Shared partitions use whole or fractions of CPU's

    • Entitled capacity expressed in the form of number of 1% CPU Units

    • Capped partition is capped at entitled capacity, which cannot be exceeded even if additional resources are available

    • Uncapped partition could get more cycles than its entitled capacity subject to spare capacity availability

    • Size of capacity increase/decrease - 1% increment in Power5 Systems

    • Priority weighting to determine preference for spare cycles

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

NCC Application Servers Refresh

  • In reviewing offerings from multiple vendors (SUN, Dell, HP and IBM) only IBM offered all the capabilities to meet the requirement of the NCC application server refresh.

  • The IBM solution is built upon a robust 7U blade chassis with support for up to 14 blades.

  • Each HS20 blade offers support for 2 x Intel Xeon processors, 8GB of memory, 2 x GbE controllers, and Fibre Channel expansion card.

  • Additional features include:

    • Nortel Networks L2-7 Switch Modules provide server load balance; application load balance and redirection; and advanced filtering. Additional modules configured for redundancy.

    • FC Switch module acts as an aggregation switch providing for FC services to FC equipped HS20 Blades. Additional modules configured for redundancy

    • IBM Remote Deployment Manager (V4.11) provides management support for HS20 Blade servers

    • ADIC StorNext File Systemprovides for SAN file system across all Blade nodes,

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

New Application Environment in the NCC

  • The geospatial application environment is an integral part of the NCC application Servers environment.

  • The new IBM BladeCenter will be used to replace the aging web server and the FTP server

  • Apache/Tomcat targeted for iPlanet replacement

  • The new IBM BladeCenter will also provide additional resources to improve the existing geospatial application environment.

  • To ensure a smooth transitional process, the new application environment will be operational concurrently with the aging system until the migration is completed

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Why Blades?

Blade servers offer a robust compute environment

  • Performance – Most blade configurations leverage commodity high-performance processors well suited for content serving, email and GP high performance computing

  • Availability – Integrated Chassis features – Power, GbE & Fiber Channel connectivity allow/promote the configuration of highly available and reliable environments

  • Manageability – Chassis systems can bemanaged from a single seat, and be dynamically re-provisioned as needs/requirements dictate

  • Density – Blade systems allow for the integration of rack-dense solutions – typically ½ the space requirement over equivalently configured rack-based systems

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

The Geospatial Environment in the NCC

  • The NCC geospatial database environment

    • The existing aging geospatial database environment can not meet the need of our EPA geospatial customers.

    • The new hardware contains state-of-the-art technology that improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation and management of the NCC database environment. As part of the NCC overall database environment, we expect to see obvious improvements in the performance and efficiency of the NCC geospatial database environment.

  • The NCC geospatial application environment

    • The new IBM BladeCenters will provide additional resources to the NCC geospatial application environment.

    • The IBM BladeCenter will provide important features such as Server Load Balancing and application load balancing and redirection. These new technologies will help to improve the performance and reliability of the geospatial related applications and web services.

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Benefits to the NCC Geospatial Environment

  • Better hardware to host geospatial database and application

    • more stable hardware; less “unscheduled” outages due to hardware failures; less “performance alert messages” due to hardware problems.

  • Better performance to geospatial database and application

    • better platform support from Oracle and ESRI; improved efficiency on operation and administration; less “unscheduled” outages due to operation and administration problems.

    • improved utilization and optimization of computing resources (including CPUs, memory, and storages).

  • Better overall performance for our geospatial customers

    • EPA geospatial databases and applications will enjoy improved overall performance with the new and advanced technologies.

    • EPA geospatial customers/developers will no longer be restricted by the old outdated servers. Simply put, there were things we just couldn’t do with the old systems.

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Other NCC Important Projects

  • EPA E-mail server requirements for HW refresh is currently being addressed in a separate proposal.

  • Identity Management/Access Controls

  • EPA DMZ Project

    • The current EPA firewall cannot adequately support the new projects that are ongoing under the ITS-EPA contract.

    • The new EPA DMZ project will improve the overall security for the EPA network and provide better services to EPA customers and users.

    • Technical details about this DMZ are not available at this time. Once we receive more info about this DMZ project, we will prepare a document about the impacts of the DMZ project to all EPA geospatial activities and make it available to you all.

    • The primary goal of the DMZ project is to eliminate the need for 2 environments (IntrAnet and Internet).

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Timeframe of the NCC Tech Refresh

  • Most new equipment will arrive the EPA NCC Floor by mid December.

  • Equipment Testing/Integration/Configuration by 1st Quarter of 2005

  • Application Migration by 2nd Quarter of 2005

  • We will provide detailed information about the EPA NCC Technology Refresh project and how it will affect the Geospatial Environmentin a document. This document will outline the detailed configuration information as well as the configuration for each EPA Geospatial database and application.

  • The document will be posted on the GIS Portal Webpage and the GIS Quickplace site.

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004

Questions ??

  • More information is available at the RTP GIS Portal:

  • http://intranet.epa.gov/rtpgis

  • Contact Information:

  • Tim Richards

  • GIS Service Manager


  • Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709

  • Phone: 919-541-5307

  • Email: [email protected]

EPA GIS Workgroup Meeting - 2004