Feeds

Mapping the universe at 30 Terabytes a night

Jeff Kantor, on building and managing a 150 Petabyte database

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Kantor added: "We are also prototyping with other open-source and proprietary databases, as well as with a Map Reduce-based approach similar to that in use at Google. We are also participating in a startup venture to create a new database engine specifically oriented at large-scale databases, especially those that contain scientific and image data."

The data will be available in formats compliant with the Virtual Observatory standards, as FITS images, and as RGB images (or something equivalent).

Providing 30TB of data a day, to each and every potential user, sounds about as easy and practical as juggling elephants one-handed.

Kantor explained: "At 1Gbps, 30TB would take 67 hours to download (without overhead). That is why the Data Access Centers exist, so users can access the data and analyze it without downloading large subsets. Rather than move the data to the processing code, we permit you to process the data nearby."

One wonders how an automated system could be written to discover previously unknown classes of rare objects - part of the telescope's mission statement.

How do you program clairvoyance into a data analysis system? Kantor: "There are quite a few researchers pursuing the line that one can analyze large datasets statistically, and uncover outliers and anomalies of interest. This is very much a research topic and one that several LSST partners are pursuing.

"In addition, we are designing the software with the ability to extend it to new algorithms and data types easily. There is a tradeoff between flexibility and performance and we walk that line every day in the design."

Talking of design, agile process aficionados out there will be interested to hear that Kantor and his team are using the minimalist, UML-based ICONIX Process (a subject close to this writer's own heart) for their system and software requirements and design. The teams are geographically dispersed, so the LSST models are shared using Sparx Systems' Enterprise Architect (EA) version control integration capabilities. Individual packages are added to a central version control repository and these packages are then shared by several local EA project files.

Kantor adds: "For code, our development environment is based on the open source trac tool integrated with subversion for version control. This provides a source repository and browser, ticket system, and documentation wiki."

Measuring the success or failure of a project as massive and wide-ranging as the LSST, which will run over such a long period of time, could prove difficult. How would you know that the project is providing value for money, useful information?

Kantor agreed: "That is always a tricky question for 'big science' projects. Typically it is measured in terms of professional papers created from the survey. Additional metrics have to do with educational impact and public impact.

"The Hubble Space Telescope gave us pictures of distant objects in the Universe that changed most people's perception of and interest in astronomy. LSST has the same potential. How do you measure that?"®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.