Instrumental Software Technologies, Incorporated (ISTI) is a small team of programmers and scientists headquartered in Saratoga Springs, New York that specialize in geophysical and other scientific software systems development and research. Their primary expertise is in seismology although they have developed software in other fields (e.g. Astronomy, Infrasound, Hydroacoustics, Geomagnetics, and Atmospheric Sciences). Many of ISTI’s projects are based upon the ideals of the open source software development community.
Stefan Lisowski (middle) and Ben Baker (right) of ISTI with visitor. Photo, courtesy of Geobit, AGU 2018 and ISTI
ISTI developers work primarily on Unix and Windows platforms to support their clients and their IT infrastructure grew organically depending on business needs. ISTI initially approached Louisa Voice with technical assistance with their Unix servers. During planning discussions, Louisa Voice recommended that the best way to achieve business continuity and reliability objectives was to upgrade the server infrastructure and move a portion of it off-site into a secure data center.
ISTI also had an analog voice system at their Saratoga Springs head office, and hosted lines for several remote servers. Shortly after the decision was made to upgrade their core infrastructure and Vmware was installed on their servers (more on this below), their existing voice system was replaced with a Sipxcom voice server, which snapped into the network as a virtual appliance when the new core infrastructure was installed. Remote workers accessed the new voice network either through dedicated VPN tunnels to their home offices with IP phones registering back to the voice server, or through soft clients that ran over dynamic OpenVPN sessions into the ISTI network. ISTI has employees through the world, so secure remote connectivity to the ISTI network and voice server was an important objective for them.
Besides the voice upgrade, the core infrastructure projects undertaken by Louisa Voice included the following:
- Implementation of Vmware as a hypervisor on a new fault-tolerant primary server stored in a secure data center with a secondary server for backup in their Saratoga Springs office. A number of individual Unix and Windows machines were consolidated on the primary server with the secondary server acting as a geographic backup server for business continuity. Louisa Voice worked closely with ISTI to re-use existing components of servers and carefully selected the new primary server based on performance, reliability, and price.
- Implementation of Veeam to backup virtual machines from the primary server to the secondary server according to a defined set of backup policies.
- Use of Backblaze on specific Windows servers as a cloud backup solution
- Use of Microsoft’s LDAP Active directory, as the single repository of accounts and authentication for all ISTI services. Accounts were also assigned to groups based on functionality and sphere of influence. This effort simplified the administrative effort of adding or deleting users while improving overall security.
- Deployment of open source firewalls in standalone and high availability configurations
- Installation of Confluence as a centralized Wiki for documenting all internal IT core infrastructure procedures with centralized LDAP Active Directory authentication
- Deployment of Redmine as an open source project management and trouble ticketing system with centralized LDAP Active Directory authentication
- Implementation of a standalone open source OpenVPN server for remote access with centralized LDAP Active Directory authentication
- Installation of an upgraded Ethernet switching infrastructure and UPS power for the Saratoga Springs office.
ISTI are strong supporters of open source technologies and are the primary maintainer of the Earthworm open source code tools for seismology (http://www.earthwormcentral.org) – use of these technologies helps deliver cost effective solutions to customers with no recurring fees. Louisa Voice approaches telephony and core infrastructure solutions for clients with a similar mindset –leverage open source technologies whenever possible to deliver cost effective solutions for its clients.