SGI InfiniteStorage 4500 and DMF Provide EarthData With a Cost-Effective, Highly Efficient Data Management Solution
EarthData's GeoSAR radar mapping system is capable of mapping thousands of square kilometers at a time, day or night, and in almost any weather condition to deliver mapping data of a scale, accuracy, and completeness never before possible for this type of topography. Mounted on a jet aircraft and using two radar bands simultaneously, the GeoSAR system flies over an area and collects extremely accurate images and three-dimensional models of the forest canopy surface as well as terrain beneath the canopy.
"One of the biggest challenges of our radar mapping system is the massive amount of radar data that must be managed, processed, and stored," said Mary Hiatt, Senior vice president of Corporate Strategy and Development, EarthData. "GeoSAR projects are as much data management projects as they are mapping projects. Having the infrastructure and powerful tools to be able to manage that data has an incredible impact on our ability to meet our customers' demands in terms of delivery schedules and provide the most accurate and detailed geospatial data."
To manage the deluge of radar data, EarthData has built upon its already existing SGI storage area network (SAN) by doubling its near-online storage capacity from 250 terabytes to 500 terabytes. EarthData is also currently in the process of increasing online storage (fibre channel) to up to 75 terabytes -- nearly a fivefold increase.
The SGI storage solutions were purchased to help support two recent government contracts. EarthData was awarded a $16 million contract by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to produce the first-ever high-resolution image and terrain maps of Papua New Guinea. The resulting data will be used with standard geographic information system (GIS) software to support decision-making in a variety of land management and engineering applications. EarthData was also awarded a $4.3 million contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to map portions of one of South America's largest countries using the GeoSAR radar mapping system.
"There's no way that we could undertake projects of this magnitude simultaneously without SGI systems and support," said Hiatt. "The only way we can do that is to have this kind of data management system in place. We chose SGI storage solutions because of their proven performance and scalability in data-intensive applications."
EarthData has implemented the SGI(R) InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility (DMF) to streamline data management and availability. SGI helps customers like EarthData to flexibly and economically adapt to changing data access patterns with DMF, which transparently migrates files from online storage to near-line storage based on user-defined criteria such as time of last access.
Without DMF, the only choice most SGI customers have is to either maintain a huge pool of inactive data on expensive disk storage or manually archive that data to tape, where it is difficult or impossible to access. With DMF, a nearly infinite data store can be cost-effectively maintained and managed without sacrificing accessibility. All data is transparently recalled to primary storage when accessed, so users never need to know where the data resides. Many SGI customers are already using DMF to manage over a petabyte of data with no end in sight.
EarthData's storage solution also includes the SGI InfiniteStorage 4500 which addresses the company's performance, scalability and availability requirements for high performance computing applications, such as the processing and storage of radar data. Excelling in both transaction-oriented and bandwidth-intensive environments, the SGI InfiniteStorage 4500 is the choice for the most intense workloads in environments where robust functionality with bullet-proof availability must be maintained.
The SGI InfiniteStorage 4500 delivers uncompromising performance with each Fibre Channel host providing up to 400MB/second and up to four host ports per adapter. The InfiniteStorage 4500 ensures that critical data remains accessible through the highest reliability components and high availability features such as fully redundant I/O paths, automated failover, hot-swappable components and online administration.
EarthData also purchased a Sun/StorageTek(R) SL8500 tape archive provided by SGI to help reduce administrative overhead and lower the total cost of storage ownership. The SL8500 has robust enterprise tape automation capabilities to support the backup and restore of valuable customer data in a complex SAN environment.
"If you look at all the storage we're acquiring, we will have 75 terabytes of fiber channel storage and about a petabyte of near-online tape storage," said Mark Wachowski, Chief Systems Administrator, EarthData. "We cannot purchase fiber channel disk to hold a petabyte of data because it's just too expensive. But with SGI's InfiniteStorage DMF, it allows us to leverage more inexpensive storage like tape. If we didn't have DMF, I couldn't even imagine trying to get enough storage in a cost-effective manner to back-up our data."
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