November 12, 2008 | In November, CISL announced the arrival of AMSTAR (Augmentation of the Mass Storage Tape Archive Resources). This new digital storage library gives NCAR five times its current storage capacity and enables scientists to conduct increasingly sophisticated computer studies of Earth’s climate.
AMSTAR was designed by Sun Microsystems and is based on the Sun StorageTek SL8500 Modular Library. It gives NCAR up to 30 petabytes of storage capacity, in addition to achieving higher speeds without increasing power requirements. (A petabyte, which is one million gigabytes, is the equivalent of 223,101 DVDs or more than 8,730 iPod Classics.) The bulk of its holdings will be data generated by global climate simulations, weather models, and other Earth system models that run on supercomputers.
The capacity and design of the Sun Microsystems system will allow CISL to incorporate AMSTAR into its Mass Storage System without having to rewrite any code. The Mass Storage System, which is one of the largest archives in the world dedicated to geoscience research, has reached its capacity of six petabytes, less than six years after crossing the one-petabyte mark.