Operations Centre and Computer Centre

Page 1 - Operations Centre and Computer Centre

Operations Centre

Many gigabytes of data are transmitted every day – from the monitoring stations; to the International Data Centre (IDC) and from the IDC to Member States. This amount of traffic needs some level of control and management.

The Operations Centre at the CTBTO takes on this task by monitoring all data traffic which includes incoming data arriving via satellite links from the stations, automatic data processing, as well as data dispatched to Member States One of its responsibilities is to ensure data quality and timely data availability In some ways this is the heart of the CTBTO.

The CTBTO’s Operations Centre monitors all data traffic
and ensures data quality and timely data availability.

In the Operations Centre with its large wall-mounted monitors, staff observe data coming in from all stations of the International Monitoring System (IMS). Some of the screens show the progress of automatic processing of data from waveform technology stations, i.e. seismic, infrasound and hydroacoustic. Different colours signify the status: arrival, data masking, which is a process of assessing the usefulness of data for further analysis, and missing data.

A separate screen shows the connections to auxiliary seismic stations. These stations send data on request only. Again, colour coding provides an immediate overview of the status.

Any failure in data transmission is analysed and a
troubleshooting process is initiated to address the situation.

While monitoring the flow of information from monitoring stations, the Operations Centre also keeps an eye on the Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI). This widespread and mostly satellite based network forms the backbone of data transmission to and from the International Data Centre.

Every significant interruption in data flow is addressed. The reasons for a failure in data transmission can be diverse, ranging from technical malfunctions to power outages and even animal activity, such as rodents eating cables or cable insulation.

Incident reports are generated and a train of events is set in motion to troubleshoot the situation and take corrective action. An investigation of an incident always starts backwards, meaning that staff will first look at possible reasons for a data outage at the receiving end, the IDC, then consider the transmission layer, the GCI, and will then contact the station to obtain additional information.

Staff at the Operations Centre provide the initial phase of troubleshooting and incident categorization. They make the first diagnosis of the cause of a failure and if needed contact the station operator for details.

When necessary, Operations Centre staff pass problems on to experts in the fields of IMS stations, GCI, or automatic processing. This process is known as escalation. When a team approach to problem solving is needed, the team meets in an escalation room located adjacent to the Operations Centre in order to obtain the latest information while leaving the Operations Centre undisturbed.