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SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems A. M. Chavan, L. E. Tacconi-Garman,

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Presentation on theme: "SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems A. M. Chavan, L. E. Tacconi-Garman,"— Presentation transcript:

1 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems A. M. Chavan, L. E. Tacconi-Garman, M. Peron, F. Sogni, D. Dorigo, P. Nass, N. Fourniol, D. Sforna, K. Haggouchi and M. Dolensky European Southern Observatory, Germany ESO's User Portal: Lessons Learned

2 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Overview ESO’s User Portal Science user database migration Backward compatibility Technology choices Planning and organizational issues Future directions

3 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems ESO’s User Portal Personalized messages Account management options Role-based action list User portals are highly visible systems whose development requires a large number of interfaces into an organization

4 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems A successful project… History …with a difficult history

5 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems History Initial concept: Dec 2004 First use cases: May 2005 First demo to management: Nov 2005 First planned release date: Aug 2006 Actual rollout: Nov 15 th, 2007

6 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Science user databases at ESO Two parallel science user databases “Proposal” users: phase I and II, auto-updated “Archive” users: archive queries, downloads Much overlap between the two Duplicated entries Merge and clean up!

7 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Migration procedure – requirements 1.Users with “Proposal” and “Archive” accounts get a single “Portal” account 2.Duplicated accounts should be merged 3.History of proposal submission and data requests should be kept Minimize impact of UP on the community: user acceptance identified as risk factor

8 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Migration procedure – issues Looked deceptively simple at the beginning Chose to implement is as a set of SQL scripts Later, very many “special cases” surfaced We were hit by the 80/20 rule Moving target DB contents kept evolving over project lifetime Had to perform 550+ manual fixes Lesson Learned Don’t use SQL for complex algorithms! Lesson Learned Issue of user data migration should have been analyzed more thoroughly upfront Lesson Learned We shouldn’t have aimed for “fully automatic” conversion, providing instead better tools for manual fixes

9 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems We wanted to introduce a list of “officially recognized” astronomical institutions For statistics about “who works where” Many variations of same institution name 59 for “Observatoire de Paris, Site de Meudon” “OPM”, “LESIA”, “Pairs Observatory (Meudon)”, … Used spreadsheets for data input One per country, 70+ in total Institution lists

10 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Spreadsheets-based data-entry does not scale well Coming up with a complete list of institutions implied much more work than anticipated Institution lists – issues Lesson Learned We should have provided an interactive, DB-oriented tool to manage the institution lists

11 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Some numbers active accounts 4.8 new accounts every day 7.8 accounts activated every day institutions when considering multinational organizations (e.g. ESO Germany, ESO Chile) } March to June 2008

12 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems User databases were fundamental for many mission-critical applications User Portal could not break them Some SW changes were foreseen Applications had SQL scattered all over Testing UP impact on those was difficult More modern applications shared a common “data access” layer Backward compatibility Lesson Learned Separating application logic and persistence code is A Good Idea! (And a valid investment)

13 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Backward compatibility – issues Some supposedly “read-only” applications needed instead to write to the user database A design choice broke a critical application User IDs like mchavan126 were misinterpreted as “Request no. 126 of user mchavan” More applications needed porting to UP – big bang! Development effort increased with time Lesson Learned Perform end-to-end tests early on; run them on production HW/SW configuration Lesson Learned Build lots of slack into your schedule for the integration phase! Lesson Learned Plan your critical phases (e.g. roll-out) very carefully

14 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Technology choices Home-grown portal infrastructure “It’s a small project” Existing apps were CGI scripts, C, Java, … Need to integrate with future CMS As application grew, so did infrastructure Common look and feel, SSO, … Lesson Learned Shop around before you decide to “roll your own” Lesson Learned Many applications start small, grow big

15 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Start small, grow big “Feed me Seymour”, Little Shop of Horrors

16 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Project resources were often diverted to “established” projects UP perceived as “nice to have” feature Organization structure changed Decision process was slow Planning and organizational issues Lesson Learned Win (top) management support early on, get all stakeholders involved Lesson Learned Don’t allow “urgent” task to override “important” ones

17 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Planning, organizational issues/2 No unified project management structure Compensated by strong developer commitment, good communication Release was postponed several times …extra time was not used for consolidation only Release contents became a moving target Lesson Learned Establish an organization-wide project management structure Lesson Learned Keep the project team in close contact, promote communication Lesson Learned Find a way to measure and monitor progress; release small and often

18 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Future directions Address list: define multiple delivery addresses Delegation of Responsibilities: e.g. a Principal Investigator delegates the preparation of Phase II Science Teams will be created and maintained under the responsibility of a team leader Integration in ESO’s upcoming Contents Management System

19 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Acknowledgements Dave Silva Tim Canavan Thomas Bierwirth

20 SPIE 2008Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Conf 7016Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems Top lessons learned Thoroughly analyze issues of science user data migration Don’t aim at “fully automatic” user DB conversion Separating application logic, persistence is A Good Idea Perform end-to-end tests early on; run on production HW/SW Shop around before you decide to “roll your own” Build lots of slack into the schedule for the integration phase Many applications start small, grow big Win (top) management support early on Establish an organization-wide project management structure Keep the project team in close contact, promote communication Measure and monitor progress; release small and often


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