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The Messenger 153

The Messenger 153

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The Messenger is published by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe, in hardcopy and electronic form, four times a year: in March, June, September and December.
The Messenger is published by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe, in hardcopy and electronic form, four times a year: in March, June, September and December.

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: European Southern Observatory on Oct 07, 2013
Copyright:Public Domain


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The Messenger
No. 153 – September 2013
   E   S   P   R   E   S   S   O   H   A   R   P   S  o   b  s  e  r  v  a   t   i  o  n  o   f   t   h  e   V  e  n  u  s   t  r  a  n  s   i   t   S  p  e  c   t  r  o  s  c  o  p  y  o   f   t   h  e   M  a  g  e   l   l  a  n   i  c   S   t  r  e  a  m   S  c   i  e  n  c  e  w   i   t   h   A   L   M   A   B  a  n   d   1   1
The Messenger 153
– September 2013
Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and it isaccessible worldwide to CERN partners. The CERN documentation expertsshared their experience in the design of 
the EDMS conguration and also gener
-ously offered ESO access to their system. The ESO administrators were trainedand worked for several weeks with CERNcolleagues and in that way gained valu-able information.One major lesson learned from thisexchange was that commercial systems
designed for industry t poorly into an
open and creative research environment. This is also why CERN had heavily
modied a commercial system and pro
-grammed a completely new user inter-face. CERN operates two completelydifferent archives: one for the creation of drawings and another for the projectteams, as they had learned that there aredifferent working cultures and processesin the two areas, and integrating them
would be difcult and cause many prob
-lems. As a result of these exchanges, ESOinvestigated the suitability of the CERNEDMS system as a tool to operate theESO Technical Archive. While theseinvestigations were proceeding, we learntabout another commercial documenta-tion management system from a smallFinnish company, called
. Thiscompany was created by engineers whoused to work at CERN and helped toimplement the CERN EDMS systemwithin the framework of a Finnish in-kindcontribution to CERN. Further informationon this spin-off company has beenpublished
. The
system wasinvestigated, and we immediately under-stood the similarities between it and theCERN EDMS.During the investigation of the CERNsystem as a possible solution for ESO,we learnt about its many interestingfeatures, but also recognised that EDMS
is fully congured for use at CERN. It
could only be adapted to ESO’s needs ina very limited way, and there would stillneed to be some compensation forCERN’s substantial efforts. The
 system took care of this limitation: itoffered many of the interesting features of 
the CERN system, but with the exibilityto congure it for ESO’s needs. So it was
Maximilian Kraus
Roberto Tamai
Paul Jolley
Guy Hess
Originally the technical archives at ESOgrew organically and lacked a singlecoherent storage and access system. A search for a powerful product datamanagement (PDM) system to unifythe document archives of observatory,telescope and instrument technicalmaterial was initiated. After a carefulassessment of the possible systems, itwas decided to implement the
 system and its recent introductionas the ESO PDM system is described.
 Technical archives at ESOOver the years several tools have beenintroduced and used for the archivingand sharing of the ESO documents thatstaff, contractors and consortium part-ners produce and store for technicalproducts and projects related to tele-scopes and instrumentation. This hybridapproach has worked well for most of the project teams, but the overall avail-ability and control of the documents wasnot optimal. There has also been a cen-tral archive, called the Technical Archive,which developed from the documentationsystem set up for the Very Large Tele-scope (VLT) project and was located atESO Headquarters in Garching. The VLT archive was originally planned for printeddocuments and drawings on paper,and was controlled using document lists.On Paranal a separate archive with acopy of the documents from Garchingwas set up.
In 2003 this paper-based Technical
 Archive (see Figure 1) was migrated toan electronic archive. New documents
were only accepted as electronic les,
and were accessible to ESO internalusers on the intranet. The printed docu-ments produced earlier and stored werescanned on demand and also made
available on the intranet. In 2009, becauseof the urgent need for ofce space, the
 Technical Archive rooms were neededand all the paper documents werescanned by a specialised contractor andthereafter only stored electronically.Staff at the La Silla Paranal Observatoryhad, in principle, access to this archivethrough the intranet. However, on accountof a shortage of network bandwidth andspeed, the search and download perfor-mance was not considered good enough. At the observatories technicians did notalways have the documents availablewhen they were needed, and problemsremained in maintaining the documenta-tion set in the event of changes orupgrades.Over the years, and especially withthe advent of the European ExtremelyLarge Telescope (E-ELT) project, theneed for a centralised archive for techni-cal documentation became more and
more evident. In addition, modern fea
tures like remote access, conguration
control of documents and release work-
ows were necessary to support such
a large and complex project efciently.It was therefore decided to search for
a replacement for the archiving systems.Search for a new archiving system
Initially the search for an archiving sys-
 tem concentrated on a drawing manage-ment system, because it was perceivedthat drawing sets, with their parts listsand structures, are very complex tohandle, and “normal” documents (for
example, specications) should be more
straightforward to store and access.Several commercial systems were exam-ined, but, after a detailed investigation,in each case a number of missing fea-
tures or functions were identied and the
candidate systems were consideredunsuitable for the ESO research environ-ment.Contact with colleagues at the EuropeanOrganization for Nuclear Research(CERN) was established and visits were
arranged to learn rst-hand from their
experience. Many years ago CERN intro-duced their Equipment Data Manage-ment Service (EDMS
 ) system. After yearsof development and adaptation, EDMShas become a powerful tool and is in usefor many projects at CERN, such as the
 Telescopes and Instrumentation
The ESO Product Data Management System — A New Home for ESO’s Technical Documents
The Messenger 153
– September 2013
decided to enter into a denition and test
-ing phase, and a contract was concludedwith the Dutch company BlueCielo, whohad recently acquired the Finnish com-pany
.Evaluation process All the evaluations of possible ESOarchiving systems were coordinated bythe ESO Mechanical Department inthe Technology Division, but other areas
within ESO, such as the Instrumenta-
 tion Division or the E-ELT Department,which also deal with projects, wereinvolved so that they could also bring intheir respective requirements.
During the system denition and evalua
-tion phase, CERN’s approach of sepa-rating the technical drawing and CAD(Computer Aided Design) data manage-ment system from the general technical
documentation system was conrmed.It was decided to go for the drawing and
CAD data management system fromour CAD system provider,
,on account of the complex interfacebetween the CAD system and the draw-ing management system.For the handling of the technical andproject documentation, the
system was found to be compliant. It hadall the needed functionality: its exible
nature allowed it to be adapted to theneeds of ESO, it was accessible fromeverywhere via a secure internet connec-tion and its user interface was compatiblewith all computer platforms. As a consequence two projects were
started, rst setting up the CAD and draw
-ing management system for the Mechani-
cal Department in May 2011, and thendening and conguring the PDM systemin December 2011.
PDMWhy do we call our technical documenta-tion system PDM? PDM is an acronym for
Product Data Management. In the pro
-duction industry, PDM systems are com-plex databases that can track and controlthe development of complex machines,plants or systems, in very great detail. Anindustrial PDM system handles thou-sands of parts, how they are assembledto form complex machines and can pro-vide users with the relevant documenta-tion at any time. Changes to processesare managed and any change initiatedby a designer is scrutinised, and onceaccepted, the purchase department orworkshop will be using the updated doc-
uments. Only then can the nished prod
-uct be traced and the up-to-date docu-mentation be available when the productis used. At ESO the product creation process isusually not as complex as in the manu-facturing industries; however there is thesame need for complete and updateddocumentation when our products enterinto their productive life. So we tried toachieve a similar goal: a database whichcan identify all our products from whenthey start their life as Phase A projects,through the start of operations at the
observatory, tracking any modications
until they are retired from use. The systemmust provide all users with all documentsrelevant to our products at any momentof their life. The majority of ESO’s products aredesigned and produced by industry orconsortia, and after testing, delivered toESO. So there is no need for the ESOPDM system to cover the complex designand manufacturing environments. How-ever, it is essential that we absorb allinformation created in industrial PDM sys-tems and can access the documentsdelivered when products pass throughtheir acceptance phase, making this dataavailable to ESO project teams andobservatory staff for operation and main-tenance. The ESO PDM system is con-
gured primarily for that purpose. In addi
-tion the PDM provides collaborationareas for project teams, where they cancreate and share working documents,and exchange documents with contrac-tors and other partners in a controlledway. After the contract with BlueCielo for theimplementation of an ESO PDM systembegan, an intensive discussion and fact-
nding process started. Over the years,
in different areas of ESO, slightly differentworking cultures had developed, withdifferent processes, or even different
names for similar processes. It was nec
-essary to bring all areas back to commonstandards so that they could be imple-mented in the automatic processes of a
Figure 1.
 Two views of the paper-based ESO Techni-cal Archive: storage of folders in sliding cabinets (left);
registered documents in suspension les (right).

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