Running a production level SDI with Geoserver

How we run a 99.5% uptime SDI at Databank Ondergrond Vlaanderen

At the 2019 FOSS4G-BE conference I gave a rather technical talk about how we went about setting up our SDI at Databank Ondergrond Vlaanderen. Our metadata and OGC services offered over 1600 layers at the time and served 2.5 million requests each week - and this has only increased since.

Components and clustering

In the talk I explained which components we use, from PostGIS databases, Minio S3 file storage to Geoserver and Geonetwork. I also discuss the various environments we have (development, QA and production) and how our release and deploy procedures work. I also shed some light on our custom Geoserver build: this is not to move away from the official Geoserver project, but instead make it better while also allowing our fixes to hit production faster.

Next up is the clustering: all our Geoserver endpoints are not single machines but clusters of multiple nodes. A loadbalancer distributes the load between the nodes, allowing us to scale to more users. I explain some lessons we learned while finding the best clustering setup.

Data publication

A data publication infrastructure needs data (obviously) and this requires procedures too: not only the software needs to be tested and validated before it can hit production, so does the data that we publish. This is why we have two entirely separate Geoserver instances per environment: a work instance where the data is prepared and the services can be tested and a publication environment that is to be used by end users or integrators. The link between the two is made by a new Geoserver community module we developed. In Taskmanager you can describe your datapublication flows once, and then run them with a single click or even automatically. When all tests pass, this allows for easy data publication and updating, while keeping both instances separate.

Metadata management

With data comes metadata: data about the data that describe its origins, quality, owner and contact person. Since we believe metadata to be best kept as close to the data as possible, we developed a new Geoserver community module for this too (meanwhile promoted to extension). The Metadata module adds a tab to each layer for you to fill in its metadata, with support for powerful templating. The metadata is then published with the built-in CSW service of Geoserver, and will be automatically published together with the data itself using Taskmanager. In the end it is harvested by Geonetwork on a regular basis, so this is kept up-to-date automatically too.

See also

— Roel

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