This paper highlights the need to build a grid-based infrastructure to meet the challenges facing NOAA in the 21st century. Given the enormous expected demands for data, and increased size and density of observational systems, current systems will not be scalable for future needs without incurring enormous costs. NOAA’s IT infrastructure is currently a set of independent systems that have been built up over time to support its programs and requirements. NOAA needs integrated systems capable of handling a huge increase in data volumes from expected launches of GOES-R, NPOESS, new observing systems being proposed or developed, and to meet requirements of the Integrated Earth Observation System. Further, NOAA must continue moving toward integrated compute resources to reduce costs, to improve systems utilization, to support new scientific challenges and to run and verify increasingly complex models using next generation high-density data streams. Finally, NOAA needs a fast, well-managed network capable of meeting the needs of the organization: to efficiently distribute data to users, to provide secure access to IT resources, and be sufficiently adaptable and scalable to meet unanticipated needs in the future.
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