The CANFAR Project
The Canadian Advanced Network for Astronomical Research (CANFAR) is a computing infrastructure for astronomers. CANFAR aims to provide to its users easy access to very large resources for both storage and processing, using a cloud based framework. CANFAR allows astronomers to run processing jobs on a set of computing clusters, and to store data at a set of data centres.
Imagine you have a processing intensive analysis that must be run on imaging data as observations are acquired, but once the processing is completed, your computing needs decrease. The CANFAR system allows you to create a computing environment (a Virtual Machine) that will be deployed on a computer clusters. The number of instances of your VM that will be started grows to meet your current need. When the computing is done, the VMs are shutdown and the computing resources are freed for other users. The VM approach ensures that the software you want to run is consistent regardless of the grid or cluster installation where your analysis is conducted.