[tdwg-tapir] Hosting strategies

Dave Vieglais vieglais at ku.edu
Fri May 11 13:02:50 CEST 2007

Hi Everyone,
Not really a TAPIR specific response, but perhaps the right  
audience.  I'm probably stating the obvious, but the simplest way to  
get around the hassles of running a server and the associated  
firewall headaches is not to serve the data but instead to push it.   
By adding an authentication layer, it would be an extension to the  
GBIF REST services to allow POSTing data, rather than just GET (I may  
be wrong on this - not exactly sure what degree of REST  
implementation has been done by GBIF).  Add in DELETE and UPDATE and  
instead of GBIF running harvesters to capture data, contributors  
could simply push their data when necessary.  This would I expect be  
an attractive solution for those data providers that would prefer not  
to operate servers but would still like to contribute to the global  
knowledge pool of biodiversity.

More than likely a mixed model may be more ideal - with some data  
sources acting as servers, and others pushing their data.  How about  
if those institutions that were comfortable running and maintaining  
servers also adopted the same complete REST implementation as the  
hypothetical GBIF mentioned above?  And what if the servers were, for  
the most part, aware of each other and so could act as proxies or  
mirrors for the other servers (perhaps even automatically replicating  
content).  The end result would be more of a mesh topology of  
comparatively high reliability and availability.

It would I think be a more scalable solution, and perhaps more  
maintainable in the long term, since it is a relatively simple thing  
to update a standalone application that could push the data compared  
with updating and securing a server.  The expense of participation in  
the networks would drop, and resources could be directed towards  
operation of a few high quality / high reliability services for  
accessing the data.

Just a thought.  There are obvious social implications, such as the  
perception of loosing control of one's data - but then it could also  
be argued that if a provider had the ability to DELETE their records  
from a server, then they actually have more control over the  
distribution of their data than currently.

   Dave V.

On May 11, 2007, at 19:19, Roger Hyam wrote:

> Hi Everyone,
> There is a requirement that all wrapper type applications (TAPIR,  
> DiGIR, BioCASe and others) have but that I don't think we address.
> All instances need to have:
> Either a database on a server in a DMZ or with an ISP with the  
> ability to export data from the production database to the public  
> database and then keep changes in the production database  
> synchronize with the public database.
> Or the ability to provide a secured/restricted connection directly  
> to production database through the firewall.
> Configuring the wrapper software against a database seems a smaller  
> problem than getting a handle on an up to date database to  
> configure it against!
> Should we have a recommended strategy or best practice for  
> overcoming these problems? Do we have any figures on how they are  
> overcome in the existing BioCASe and DiGIR networks?
> Many thanks for your thoughts,
> Roger
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