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An official website of the United States government and Kessel Run test scalability and resilience of cloud services

June 29, 2022

The General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS) and Kessel Run, a Division under the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Digital Directorate, recently engaged in joint exercises testing the ability of TTS’s platform to quickly scale to meet demand for critical digital services.

Digital services - websites and products that provide services to citizens - are an integral part of the modern service delivery model for federal agencies. Too often, however, the digital infrastructure to support these services is rolled out only in the later stages as new or enhanced digital services are implemented. This often leaves little time for agency staff to optimize cloud infrastructure to ensure an efficient and equitable delivery of services to those in need. New digital services that are meant to serve millions, or tens of millions of users, require infrastructure that has been specially tuned to meet these unique availability and resilience requirements.

Joining forces to test’s ability to scale is a managed cloud platform within TTS that serves dozens of federal agencies and hosts thousands of software applications. The platform allows agencies to quickly deploy and scale secure digital services to serve their constituents. Kessel Run is home to a dedicated team named “Bowcaster” that conducts scalability, performance, and resilience testing.

The goal of this joint exercise was to bring together the and Bowcaster teams to test’s ability to scale to support critical, high-profile initiatives that require high levels of availability and stability. In addition, this exercise helped the Bowcaster team to sharpen its tools and processes that are essential for supporting large cloud platform scale outs. This work also allowed TTS and Kessel Run to refine mechanisms for quickly getting approvals for interagency partnerships, which can be essential to large digital service rollouts but are often overlooked until such processes are well underway.

Shifting from reactive to proactive approach

This work represents a unique change in focus for how federal agencies deliver digital services at scale. It begins an important shift from what has traditionally been a reactive approach, planning for a scale out of cloud infrastructure after a new program or solution has been approved, to a proactive one, developing repeatable playbooks and toolsets that agencies can use to scale digital services for large volumes of users.

Moving forward and Bowcaster have continued this important work and planned future scalability exercises. This work will help federal agencies prepare for the successful rollout of future digital services that have high availability and resilience requirements.