Feeds

SKA precursor starts streaming firehosing astrodata to the world

Cramming the universe into a fibre at 1.5 terabytes an hour

High performance access to file storage

Hard on the heels of yesterday's discussion of high-performance computing with the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research and the National Computational Infrastructure comes the announcement that real data has started to stream out of Western Australia's Murchison Widefield Array.

In fact, to anybody but the biggest big data enthusiast, “stream” seems an inadequate word for what's leaving this one source. That's because the MWA's 2,048 dual-polarisation dipole antennas, arranged as 128 “tiles” (mostly in a relatively small 1.5 km core region, with some beyond that to yield a 3 km baseline) yield a veritable firehose of data.

The iVEC-managed Pawsey Centre, 800 km distant in Perth is receiving 400 megabytes per second from the telescope – and as discussed here and here, that's after on-site correlators, the first step in processing the telescope data, reduce the amount of data leaving the site to a manageable level.

A dedicated 10 Gbps fibre runs from Murchison to Geraldton, after which dark fibre on the Nextgen Networks-operated Regional Backhaul Blackspots Project link to Perth provides connectivity to the Pawsey Centre.

Murchison iVEC - ICRAR team

The Murchison Widefield Array Data Archive team from ICRAR: Dave Pallot (left) Professor Andreas Wicenec (centre) and Associate Professor Chen Wu (right) at the Pawsey Centre. Image: ICRAR

Just how much work is needed to create a manageable data set is demonstrated by the fact that the MWA's correlators perform half of the entire computation needed by the facility, iVEC says.

That gets the raw data – about 1.5 TB per hour – down to a much more manageable requirement that the Pawsey Centre store a mere 3 PB annually.

And, since in science data becomes more useful the more available it is, there are other institutions in on the act. MIT in the US and the Victoria University in New Zealand already have links to the Pawsey Centre, with another planned to connect India, another partner in the MWA project.

MIT's research is the early Universe, which means there's further filtering carried out. A mere 150 TB has been sent to the USA of astronomy data already collected in the MWA's pilot operations and shipped to Perth on an earlier 1 Gbps link. The new data streams will add 4 TB per day to that.

As previously discussed by The Register, the Pawsey Centre will also host an advanced hierarchical storage management facility, including a 20 Petabyte Spectra Logic tape library, a 6 Petabyte SGI disk-based storage system, and a significant visualisation and post-processing capability provided by SGI in the form of a 6 Terabyte UV2000 and 34 Data Analysis Engines. All of these systems will be interconnected via a high-speed (FDR) Infiniband network.

Managing the distribution of this data is the open-source Next Generation Archive System (NGAS) developed by professor Wicenec while at the European Southern Observatory and modified by an ICRAR for operation at the Pawsey Centre. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan
All routes should transit America, apparently
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.