NASA tackles archive data

NASA is looking to reig in its rapidly growing archive of research data.

Officials with the agency's Advanced Supercomputing facility at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., are deploying Silicon Graphics' InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility to manage, store and retrieve archived data.

NASA officials will use DMF to move older data files to a tape archive.

DMF ultimately will allow the agency to archive and manage 40 petabytes of information ' an amount equal to approximately 2,000 times the size of the entire print collection of the Library of Congress, NASA officials said.

'From satellite images of our home planet to simulating airflows over new wing designs, NASA research projects can regularly generate multiple terabytes of data,' said Alan Powers, high-end computing lead at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility.

'As our archives grow, so does the challenge of managing and migrating that information to the appropriate storage system,' he said.

NASA needs a sophisticated data management system that allows the agency to keep the most requested information accessible while efficiently moving the rest to tape archives, he said.

SGI InfiniteStorage DMF will help NASA adapt to its changing data access patterns, SGI officials said. In a typical data life cycle, new data is accessed intensively, while aging data is needed less frequently. That data may remain dormant for months or even years, although it may occasionally undergo brief periods of renewed access.

With DMF, NASA can define the data migration policy needed to keep high-priority information close at hand, while lower-priority information is seamlessly migrated to tape.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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