Feeds

Boffins ponder 100-year archive made of TOMES

A MAID to preserve culture and decency

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) researchers have designed Pergamum, a hundred year archive system using Ethernet-linked redundant and powered down intelligent disk drive building blocks.

The Pergamum researchers are UCSC graduate students Mark Storer and Kevin Greenan, and researcher Kaladhar Voruganti of NetApp. One problem of building a digital archive to last 50 to 100 years is that the storage medium can undergo ten or more changes in that period with the original medium no longer capable of being read. Few people now can read paper tape or punched cards.

Storer said: "There is a risk that an entire generation's cultural history could be lost if people aren't able to retrieve that data. Everyone is switching to digital cameras, but we've never demonstrated that digital data can be reliably preserved for a long time."

Pergamum was a library and settlement in Ancient Greece.

The Santa Cruz Pergamum stores information in TOMES: single disk drive units in a small case with an ARM-style processor (think iPhone), some flash memory, and an Ethernet port. TOMES link together over Ethernet to form the archive. Data is replicated on individual TOMES and across TOMES, protecting against latent sector errors on individual drives, and also against a hard drive failure.

It's easy to add more TOMES or to replace failed drives. The software doesn't care what the storage medium is and TOMES using a different storage medium could be added in the future, insulating the archive contents from media and media drive changes. This is the issue that prevents tape being used, because of its regular format changes and format extinctions.

Storer said: "In 50 years, the devices might use holographic storage. "As long as you can wrap the new storage medium in this intelligent layer that speaks the protocol, it can participate in the network."

When not in use TOMES power down almost completely. What power they do draw, about 13 watts, is delivered over Ethernet. Many operations can read and write data in flash, obviating the need to spin up the hard drive. This is a MAID-like (Massive Array of Idle Drives) aspect of Pergamum.

UCSC has other archival storage projects. Deep Store cuts the space needed to store data and POTSHARDS uses a secret splitting technique instead of encryption to secure an archive's contents.

This is an academic project and there is no indication of any commercial activity to productise Pergamum. More here.

Copyright © 2008, Blocks & Files.com

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.