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Virtualization - A Key Cost Saver in NASA Multi-Mission Ground System ArchitectureWith science team budgets being slashed, and a lack of adequate facilities for science payload teams to operate their instruments, there is a strong need for innovative new ground systems that are able to provide necessary levels of capability processing power, system availability and redundancy while maintaining a small footprint in terms of physical space, power utilization and cooling.The ground system architecture being presented is based off of heritage from several other projects currently in development or operations at Goddard, but was designed and built specifically to meet the needs of the Science and Planetary Operations Control Center (SPOCC) as a low-cost payload command, control, planning and analysis operations center. However, this SPOCC architecture was designed to be generic enough to be re-used partially or in whole by other labs and missions (since its inception that has already happened in several cases!)The SPOCC architecture leverages a highly available VMware-based virtualization cluster with shared SAS Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) to provide an extremely high-performing, low-power-utilization and small-footprint compute environment that provides Virtual Machine resources shared among the various tenant missions in the SPOCC. The storage is also expandable, allowing future missions to chain up to 7 additional 2U chassis of storage at an extremely competitive cost if they require additional archive or virtual machine storage space.The software architecture provides a fully-redundant GMSEC-based message bus architecture based on the ActiveMQ middleware to track all health and safety status within the SPOCC ground system. All virtual machines utilize the GMSEC system agents to report system host health over the GMSEC bus, and spacecraft payload health is monitored using the Hammers Integrated Test and Operations System (ITOS) Galaxy Telemetry and Command (TC) system, which performs near-real-time limit checking and data processing on the downlinked data stream and injects messages into the GMSEC bus that are monitored to automatically page the on-call operator or Systems Administrator (SA) when an off-nominal condition is detected. This architecture, like the LTSP thin clients, are shared across all tenant missions.Other required IT security controls are implemented at the ground system level, including physical access controls, logical system-level authentication authorization management, auditing and reporting, network management and a NIST 800-53 FISMA-Moderate IT Security plan Risk Assessment Contingency Plan, helping multiple missions share the cost of compliance with agency-mandated directives.The SPOCC architecture provides science payload control centers and backup mission operations centers with a cost-effective, standardized approach to virtualizing and monitoring resources that were traditionally multiple racks full of physical machines. The increased agility in deploying new virtual systems and thin client workstations can provide significant savings in personnel costs for maintaining the ground system. The cost savings in procurement, power, rack footprint and cooling as well as the shared multi-mission design greatly reduces upfront cost for missions moving into the facility. Overall, the authors hope that this architecture will become a model for how future NASA operations centers are constructed!
Document ID
Document Type
Swenson, Paul (Hammers Co. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Kreisler, Stephen (Hammers Co. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Sager, Jennifer A. (Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc. Columbia, MD, United States)
Smith, Dan (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
November 5, 2014
Publication Date
February 26, 2014
Subject Category
Ground Support Systems and Facilities (Space)
Computer Operations and Hardware
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Ground System Architectures Workshop (GSAW) 2014(Los Angeles, CA)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Ground System Architecture
Message Bus Architecture

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NameType 20140013328.pdf STI