Cloud Engineering weeknotes, 26 November 2021

This week we’ve been looking to the future a fair bit. The first part of this was in reviewing our roadmap and planning the larger pieces of work for the next 5-6 months. A lot has changed since we put this roadmap together back in March, and we have a much better understanding of what is needed and how we work with other teams. 

We have removed some items now deemed unnecessary, some items that run counter to our working philosophy, and some items that are low-value. If they are important enough, they will come back in the future. 

We’re concentrating on a smaller number of items, doing fewer things better, and we will start with testing our disaster recovery capability. We’ve had a couple of dry runs and will build on that; the idea is to see how we react and then iterate to build on strengths and identify weaknesses. 

Looking to the future has also included starting to plan for when our contractor colleagues roll off. This will be phased, with at least one person remaining till January or February. We are now starting handovers, with documentation and coaching. 

Part of this effort is a lot of work done in the last week or so to put as much automation into the firewalls as possible. We should soon be in a position where nobody has to go into the control panel; everything should be managed by Panorama and any changes made via Terraform. We have high availability, and changes to things like routing should be very rare. 

This extends to Globalprotect, which is part of the firewall software. We’re piloting a new way to create an application in Globalprotect using its API, rather than needing direct access to the control panel, and it’s gone well. Be on the lookout for more Globalprotect changes in the next week or so. 

We’ve made some progress on the account migrations this week. The work to migrate Advanced e5 is prepared, and the change should be made imminently. We’ve also migrated Housing-Dev, and work on the Websites account is progressing well. Unfortunately we’re blocked on the other Housing accounts, which in turn blocks the final set of migrations. We are talking daily to the MTFH team about getting this unblocked. 

The next few weeks may be frantic, but the light in the tunnel is getting bright. 

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