Infrastructure and Virtual Observatory Standards

Dowler, Patrick

The modern data centre is faced with architectural and software engineering challenges that grow along with the challenges facing observatories: massive data flow, distributed computing environments, and distributed teams collaborating on large and small projects. By using Virtual Observatory (VO) standards as key components of the infrastructure, projects can take advantage of a decade of intellectual investment by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) community. By their nature, these standards are proven and tested designs that already exist. Adopting VO standards saves considerable design effort, allows projects to take advantage of open-source software and test suites to speed development, and enables the user of third party tools that understand the VO protocols.

The evolving Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) architecture now makes heavy use of VO standards: VOSI, VOSpace, VOTable, SSO+CDP, TAP, and UWS. We show examples of how these standards may be used directly, coupled with non-VO

standards, or extended with custom capabilities to solve real problems and provide value to our users. In the end, we use VO services as major parts of the core infrastructure to reduce cost rather than as an extra layer with additional cost and we can deliver more general purpose and robust services to our user community.

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