Cloud Engineering weeknotes, 14 January 2022

This week demonstrated how the team has grown and matured; we abandoned our sprint. This is a rare event for an agile team, but it’s a sign that the team just knew that what was there wasn’t going to bring value, so we abandoned it for things that would actually bring value. 

We focused on two main things. First, the firewalls and Globalprotect. We’ve implemented new authentication groups in Globalprotect; this is part of splitting Globalprotect into internal and external for apps hosted in our own AWS or SaaS. The IP ranges have also been corrected, as the 172 range we had been using was an antipattern. 

The big change in the firewalls is the implementation of a VPN to secure access to the management console.  This increases the security around who can access the firewalls while also simplifying that security. The team got a crash course in how the firewall routing is configured on Wednesday, when we mobbed on an issue connected to the websites – the other main thing of the week.

The new Ansible infrastructure wasn’t communicating properly with the Hub so we had a big screen-sharing session with Cintia driving the work on the firewalls while Frank and Stuart debugged the Ansible and everyone else learned a lot. We’ve agreed we should do more sessions like this. 

There have been some other support-related tasks this week, such as supporting Public Health with a bulk file transfer, and setting up a way for Pensions to download data from S3. But a lot of our other planned work is still blocked. We had planned to roll the Housing-Production account onto the Hub last night, but found out in the late afternoon that a SaaS supplier hadn’t put the new IP addresses on their allow-list. This would have led to severe disruption elsewhere in the council, so we have postponed the change. 

In an effort to “clear the decks” of our work in progress and our blocked work, we have cleared out our backlog and in our next sprint are focusing only on those tasks in hand, plus a couple of new essential tasks. The more we can clear the slate, the more we will be able to focus on bringing value to the platform and its users. 

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