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Caltech Beefs Up Storage for LIGO Project

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has deployed new tape libraries and drives to better support the data archiving needs of its Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project. The new technologies will be installed at all facilities involved with the project.

The LIGO project, a collaborative effort between Caltech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to test Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity known as general relativity. Scientists at remote observatories around the globe gather and evaluate data sets then copy them to a central archive repository located in Pasadena where they're stored.

In 2011, LIGO scientists ran into a challenge. They needed to move 2.9 petabytes of data, from 12 years of observations, to a more robust storage system that could automate access to existing data archives as well as support new, rapid data growth. The team chose Oracle's StorageTek solutions for the project.

"Over the last 12 years, the LIGO project has generated three petabytes of data as a thousand scientists and engineers have worked to test Einstein’s theory of relativity and observe gravitational waves," said Stuart Anderson, director of computing, for the LIGO Laboratory, in a prepared statement released this weel by Oracle. "With the scope of the project and our intent to keep the data in perpetuity, a robust, scalable and open storage solution is absolutely vital. Oracle’s StorageTek tape storage has been central to our archive and its latest generation StorageTek T10000C tape drives have enabled us to manage more data and promises to provide additional data protection for our data, while preparing for significant data growth going forward."

The project team upgraded the existing Oracle tape storage at two LIGO observatories and the main repository at Caltech to Oracle's StorageTek T10000C. The lab is also using StorageTek T10000B tape drives and StorageTek SL3000 and SL8500 tape libraries for added storage capacity and Oracle’s Sun Storage Archive Manager software for data management. Caltech plans to use StorageTek Data Integrity Validation with the T10000C tape drives to protect against data loss that can occur during file transfer or over the course of time.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at knamahoe@1105media.com.

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