NOAA portal yields first-CLASS data

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has cranked up a dual-sited portal called CLASS for retrieving environmental data from satellite and ground observations.

The Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System operates out of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and the Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution in Suitland, Md.

Each site has two dual-processor IBM p660 eServers running AIX plus a robotic tape library, said Charles Bryant, a computer specialist at Suitland.

Both sites share the same data catalog and are synchronized in near-real time so that either site can fail over to the other, Bryant said.

Users can search for and order the available data products online. Bryant said requests are fulfilled in minutes, hours or days depending on size of the data set.

CLASS archives data from Defense Department polar-orbiting operational environmental satellites and NOAA's geostationary operational environmental satellites.

The vast storehouse now holds 6.4 million archived files totaling 41T. By 2015, CLASS will be collecting an estimated 1,200T per year from existing and next-generation satellites. 'We're in the petabyte range down the road,' Bryant said.



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