USDA Forest Service


USDA Forest Service (FS) is a multi-faceted agency that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Forest Service has an elite wildland firefighting team and the world’s largest forestry research organization. FS experts provide technical and financial help to state and local government agencies, businesses, private landowners and work government-to-government with tribes to help protect and manage non-federal forest and associated range and watershed lands.

Problem Statement

Due to increasing funding pressures there is a government wide effort to reduce the number of Federal data/computing centers.  A plan must be developed by Data center transformation group to determine how to best support application these services going forward. Forest Service has over 400 applications running on 2200 servers on agency-supported datacenter. Forest Service was seeking assistance to plan, re-platform and migrate these applications to a Cloud based environment provided by USDA National IT Center.

Creative’s Solution

Creative offered broad range of services to Forest Service to plan, assess and migrate applications from the current platforms to Cloud based virtual environment. Creative provided the following services:

  • Cloud Architecture Planning: Creative’s Cloud architects performed analysis of current applications and identified them into manageable portfolios based on the business lines. These applications were then classified based on their ability to execute the business processes in Cloud based environments. Those applications needing re-platforming were clearly identified along with the applications that were ready to retiring.
  • Application Deployment Process Improvements: Creative recognized that migrating a large number of applications was simply not possible using traditional application deployment approaches. Forest Service needed to really focus on cost avoidance, increased innovation, and delivery "speed". To meet these goals, Creative established the DevOps Center of Excellence using a broad range of open source products like Puppet, Maven, Jenkins, and Subversion. This allowed us to cut down the deployment time from weeks to minutes.
  • Systems Integration Analysis: Creative provided end-to-end support for systems integration and re-platforming. We modernized over 40 applications to a new Web based platform that can use the benefits of Cloud computing. Integration services included building integration bus and services using WebMethods software as a middleware and building several re-usable business services.
  • Application Maintenance and Database Operation Services (Client Site): Creative provided database administration and application maintenance for WebLogic, Oracle database and MS SQL server databases. Creative provided services to design, implement, configure, optimize, and support WebLogic 11g eco-system. Provided on-site monitoring of WebLogic routine tasks and scripting tools to automate various tasks.

Benefits Realized

Forest Service was able to migrate 40 applications to the Cloud environment and shut down over 200 physical servers saving several hundred thousand dollars. Also, the implementation of DevOps and Continuous Integration processes will result in significant savings over the next five years by enabling rapid deployment of applications.