Removal of Optical Discs as a Delivery Option

Published: 18 Aug 2011

From 2012 the ESO Science Archive Facility will cease distribution of data using optical disc media.

Optical disc media (CDs and DVDs) have been an option for the delivery of archive orders through the request submission process as well as a much-used format (CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs in this case) for the distribution of PI packages. Effectively, Period 87 will be the last full period for which PI packages will be distributed on optical media. Afterwards their use will be phased out.

Over the last six months, new functionality has been introduced to enhance the on-line delivery of data through the domain “”. The Incremental Delivery of PI Packages offers improved timeliness for the distribution of PI packages and the Download Manager supports the instant download of all ESO Archive Requests. The Download Manager allows one to quickly download available files, pause and resume the download at a later time, retry downloads that have failed and repeat downloads based on previous requests. Full documentation is provided in the Archive User Manual, and the Archive FAQ. The Download Manager is planned as a replacement for the old ftp service and for the production of optical discs.

The new services are effective alternatives to the use of optical discs. The data volumes under consideration are compatible with contemporary network performance and commensurate with the prevailing trend for data services to be exclusively on-line. The amount of data requested to be delivered on media has been steadily decreasing and is now below 2% of the total. Only for special orders involving massive amounts of data, a service to deliver USB hard disk drives will become available as soon as possible.

With the transition to predominantly on-line delivery, through use of the Download Manager, no change in the management of the data proprietary period is foreseen. According to the ESO data access policy, the proprietary period for an individual file is counted from when the PI or a delegate downloads/requests the file for the first time. For files not requested, in the case of PI Package delivery, the proprietary period began when the data was posted to the PI. For the on-line services, the direct equivalent of the old procedure shall be applied for all previously unrequested files: the proprietary period shall begin when the whole package is completed and is available on-line.