How Calar Alto Observatory implements ONLYOFFICE for secure & location-independent collaboration

1 June 2022By Ksenija

An astrophysics scientific center in Spain is using ONLYOFFICE Docs in combination with Nextcloud to ensure fast and reliable collaborative work. Enrique de Guindos, who is the Computer Department Head and has been working in the observatory for 28 years already, talks about his team’s experience.

How Calar Alto Observatory implements ONLYOFFICE for secure & location-independent collaboration

About Calar Alto Observatory

The institution “Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán”, also known as Calar Alto Observatory, is a scientific center located in Almería, South Spain, dedicated to the astrophysics.

It is the biggest observatory in Mainland Europe with four big telescopes between several other facilities. The biggest telescope is a huge machine that has a 3.5 m diameter main mirror, with a weight of nearly 300 tonnes within a building of about 50 m height. Its main instrument, called CARMENES, is searching for exo-planets (planets in other stellar systems) similar to our Earth, which could have life on them. The observatory also has a 2.2 m, 1.23 m and 80 cm aperture optical telescopes.

How Calar Alto Observatory implements ONLYOFFICE for secure & location-independent collaboration
Image source: Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory

Big telescopes require lots of resources

As a scientific observatory, the Calar Alto institution is using lots of technologies and resources needed for the research: big optics for the telescopes, impressive mechanical parts, fast electronics for reading CCDs, big computers for processing gathered data and, of course, a high bandwidth internal and external network.

The computer department of the observatory operates a wide variety of systems, mostly Linux based. They also have Windows desktops for some administrative tasks and several older operating systems like Solaris and VxWorks.

A distributed high-speed internal network connects all buildings in the campus (about 25 core switches are working here). The computer department also maintains virtualized servers in the server farm and high-availability perimeter firewalls. Besides, the Calar Alto Observatory is a part of RedIRIS, the Academic and Research Spanish Network.


Collaborative work is mandatory in a scientific center like Calar Alto Observatory. As Enrique de Guindos recalls, they got to know about ONLYOFFICE when they started deploying Nextcloud instance in early 2019.

When users understood all the benefits provided by the self-hosted cloud, they began to request a collaborative office solution to work with DOCX, XLSX, and ODT files. So the computer department was searching for an appropriate one. They evaluated several alternatives and came to the decision that ONLYOFFICE Docs suited better to their needs.

Secure and location-independent collaboration

Enrique de Guindos tells us that the process of integrating ONLYOFFICE Docs into their Nextcloud was not as easy as they expected, but now everything is working properly.

The most important part about the integration is that the ONLYOFFICE and Nextcloud combo allows organizing a reliable collaborative system in the private network where users from different departments can seamlessly edit documents in real time and securely share files.

Enrique de Guindos, Computer Department Head:

The way of modifying documents so quickly and sharing these modifications with other users is fantastic. If someone asks me, I will recommend ONLYOFFICE without any doubt.