Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

End User System Servers

Decorative image of a hallway in a room filled with servers behind glass doors.







Service Description

CTS provides a robust, multi-platform infrastructure service for systems operating in the end user environment.

This infrastructure offering includes industry standard 2 and 3 tier solution architecture focusing on use of SQL back-end services. Hosted solutions are offered on Windows and RedHat Linux platforms, hosted on virtual and physical hardware depending on the customer's technical requirements.

Note: Appliance based solutions from 3rd party vendors can also be hosted based on thorough technical and security review.

Virtual Infrastructure

The virtual infrastructure uses a robust capability set provided on a mature VMware implementation and is hosted on a Cisco UCS capable of high-availability at both a hardware and software level.

  • Provides enterprise VMware virtualization platforms utilizing modern converged and hyper-converged hardware and storage platforms.
  • Performance trending, modeling and forecasting using VRealize Operations Manager
  • Aggressive uptime and performance scaling with dynamic resource scheduling, storage dynamic resource scheduling, and high availability.

Field Location Infrastructure

The field service centers and large office environments are supported by a combination of Cisco UCS blade servers, Riverbed SteelHeads with embedded hypervisor, and traditional physical servers based on the compute and storage capacity needs of the location. All systems are managed using the same technology as our Windows platforms at the core including monitoring and log management.

  • Hosted platforms are remotely deployed and centrally managed with the same high degree of professional attention and service delivery described as part of core services above.
  • Data protection services, described below, are included in this solution offering to ensure maximum protection and resiliency to the end user consumer.

Infrastructure Data Protection

The infrastructure protection model allows recoverability of core and field service hardware and platforms in a structured and repeatable fashion. The focus is re-provisioning of content to platforms whether they are integrated as part of the location’s network infrastructure or a dedicated physical platform.

  • Content protection is handled via the Distributed File System (DFS) or CommVault, depending on the location and age of the site.
  • Platform recoverability is based on a 12 week protection period to reduce impact and manage overall system resources.

Content Data Protection

User content is replicated on a daily basis to the enterprise data center using DFS. Which in turns is protected via CommVault data protection services built on a 12-week aging rotation.

  • When technically feasible, content is replicated to the enterprise data center to maximize overall availability to the users.
  • If technically required, content is protected locally depending on site location and platform.
  • Where requirements are specifically defined and where capability exists, off site tape archiving is available. This service requires procurement of high-density storage tapes and off-site contract support. Specific details for this expanded service should be addressed using documented requirements.

What Is Included

Back to Top

What Is Included


The following are delivered under base service:

  • Installation, configuration, maintenance, and scalability planning using accepted best practices recommendations
  • Individualized application integration services for hosted solutions
  • Proactive monitoring and iIncident response
    • Monitoring services are supported 24x7 (excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) via Infrastructure Operations Center (IOC)
    • Custom application monitoring is available with customer collaboration as part of the overall server cost.
  • Easy upgrades focused on minimal downtime
  • Security services including:
    • Security patching
    • Log management
    • Regulatory compliance validation for the platform provided
  • Backup and recovery services
  • Highly available databases (dependent on business requirement)
    • High availability options
      1. Physical: replication and traditional Structured Query Language (SQL) failover clustering
      2. Always on failover clustering and always on availability groups
    • Item 2: Available in physical or virtual implementation

File Retention/Backup Rotation Schedule

Location Backup Retention

Field Office Server


Daily , Mon-Fri

Three months (offsite)

Field Office Server

(using tapes)*

Daily Incremental (Mon-Thu)

Weekly Full (Friday)

2 weeks (onsite)

6 weeks (offsite)

Enterprise Data Center

Daily, Mon-Fri

Three months

* Sites using legacy NetBackup tape solutions. These sites are in scope for updates to current CommVault solution standards for "Field Office Server (CommVault)", outlined above.

** Sites with specific business needs that fall outside of "standard" to be negotiated and documented individually.

NOTE: Customers with long term data protection retention needs that exceed the periods listed above must be documented clearly so that CTS can review and provide a specific cost-based estimate. The data protection system does not function as a file retention or records management system.

*Deprecated solution offering that is in process of being phased out through this FY as newer solutions are fully deployed.

How We Charge

End User System Servers Measurement Description

Product/Service Offering UNIT of Measure Description

End User System Servers

Measured by the number of physical and virtual servers that are managed by CTS.

Service Level Metrics

Infrastructure Service Performance Measures

Performance Performance Measure Performance Target
Infrastructure Availability Availability of service measured at the hosting server 24 x 7
(excluding planned downtime*).


Measurement Tools - System Center Operations Manager-SCOM

Additional Information

*CTS reserves the following windows for standard scheduled patching or maintenance activities for Infrastructure and/or hosted solutions:

  • Saturday between 1100 to 1400 hours local time.
  • Sundays between 0800 to 1200 or 1800 to 2400 hours local time.