Cloud Engineering weeknotes, 18 February 2022

Not much progress this week, as several of the team have been taking some much-deserved rest. The rest of the team has also slowed down a little, which honestly is a good thing, as going as quickly as we did through 2021 is just not sustainable and leads to mistakes. 

Erdem and Ninad have made good progress on moving the first of three covid grant application services. This has been quite a learning curve for both but Staging is almost complete. We don’t believe that Production is in use, so that can be moved fairly quickly thereafter. After finishing this application, they will tackle the other two separately, though working together. 

There is still a short list of applications to be moved; GIS apps in Production, and Repairs Hub in Staging. However, the latter is probably better done by the Repairs Hub team and we’ll be talking to them separately about this. 

Matt and Stuart have been learning more about the Palo Alto firewalls from Tomasz. This week, how to set up a VPN; one will be needed soon for a third-party system that will connect to Repairs Hub. The prep work has been done and we should be able to actually build it next week. Stuart will also update the existing VPN to Servelec as the encryption domains need to be extended. 

Tomasz has also done a spike into restoring access to an app called Plus5, used by Planning. It’s a very old application that requires an emulator as it only supports telnet, and we think we have a way forward using HostAccess on an EC2. We’re trying to get a trial licence to test it. 

Stuart is finishing up his work on Backstage, completing documentation for the Playbook. We don’t want to be gatekeepers for this, and any developer should feel free to add a plugin that would be useful. He’s also writing a paper for the TDA on how we could offer this out to other councils as a packaged service.

Something new this week was Ninad giving Chris L some 1:1 coaching on Terraform, starting from first principles. Chris is keen to be able to maintain the Academy account himself, and we’re more than happy to help him! This is certainly something we’d welcome more of, and if anyone would like to have access to Devscratch to teach themselves using Hashicorp’s documentation, just let us know. 

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