GOVERNMENT DATA CENTERS: Meeting Increasing Demands

Committee on Coping with Increasing Demands on Government Data Centers

Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands GOVERNMENT DATA CENTERS: Meeting Increasing Demands Committee on Coping with Increasing Demands on Government Data Centers Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the federal agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Contract No. NASW-01008. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number: 0-309-08742-2 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academies Press 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 (800) 624-6242 (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands COMMITTEE ON COPING WITH INCREASING DEMANDS ON GOVERNMENT DATA CENTERS JEFF DOZIER, Chair, University of California, Santa Barbara ANURAG ACHARYA (through June 2002), Google, Inc., Mountain View, California LAWRENCE BUJA, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado LEO MARK, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta JONATHAN OVERPECK, University of Arizona, Tucson MARY F. WHEELER, University of Texas, Austin THOMAS R. YENGST, The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California NRC Staff KERI H. MOORE, Study Director MONICA R. LIPSCOMB, Research Assistant SHANNON L. RUDDY, Senior Project Assistant

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands COMMITTEE ON GEOPHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DATA J. BERNARD MINSTER, Chair, University of California, San Diego ROGER C. BALES, University of Arizona, Tucson MARY ANNE CARROLL, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID GLOVER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts MARK J. MCCABE, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta JOHN M. MELACK, University of California, Santa Barbara ROY RADNER, New York University, New York ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado NRC Staff ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer SHANNON L. RUDDY, Senior Project Assistant

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville JILL F. BANFIELD, University of California, Berkeley STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. VICKI J. COWART, Colorado Geological Survey, Denver DAVID L. DILCHER, University of Florida, Gainesville ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts WILLIAM L. GRAF, University of South Carolina, Columbia RHEA GRAHAM, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis DIANNE R. NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada MARK SCHAEFER, NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia BILLIE L. TURNER II, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee NRC Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer PAUL M. CUTLER, Program Officer KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer KERI H. MOORE, Program Officer LISA M. VANDEMARK, Program Officer YVONNE P. FORSBERGH, Research Assistant MONICA R. LIPSCOMB, Research Assistant EILEEN MCTAGUE, Research Assistant JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant RADHIKA CHARI, Senior Project Assistant KAREN L. IMHOF, Senior Project Assistant SHANNON L. RUDDY, Senior Project Assistant

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands TERESIA K. WILMORE, Project Assistant WINFIELD SWANSON, Technical Editor

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Tom Barclay, Bay Area Research Group, Microsoft Corporation, San Francisco Francis Bretherton, University of Wisconsin, Madison James Frew, Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara Patricia G. Selinger, Director of Database Integration, IBM Silicon Valley Laboratory, San Jose, California J. Ronald Wilson, Marine Environmental Data Service (retired), Ontario, Canada Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations nor did they see the final draft of

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Debra Meese, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Appointed by the National Research Council, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands Preface As repositories of the nation’s environmental data, U.S. government data centers are constantly evolving. The data they collect, disseminate, and archive are critical to assessing the state of the earth and our effect on it. As the data record grows, so does our understanding of the environment. However, because of the increasing amount and complexity of and demand for environmental data, data centers seek technological approaches that would increase their capabilities while maintaining their quality of service. At the request of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Research Council formed the Committee on Coping with Increasing Demands on Government Data Centers (Appendix A). The committee was charged to hold a workshop to examine the extent to which emerging technologies can help data centers meet user needs and build and maintain the long-term record of environmental change. The workshop on April 29-30, 2002, at the University of Texas at Austin (Appendix B) was attended by representatives from U.S. government data centers and the global environmental science community, as well as by experts in information technology (IT) from industry and academia (Appendix C). After an introductory plenary session, speakers and participants divided into two working groups: data access and ingest, and data distribution and processing. The group reconvened in plenary session at the end of the afternoon to share the results from their discussion (Appendix D). The following morning a reaction panel with representatives from data centers, the user

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands community, and the IT industry assessed the conclusions from the first day’s deliberations (Appendix D). These discussions and subsequent work by the committee form the basis for this report. The committee reviews technological approaches that should be given consideration not only by the data center managers and their sponsoring agencies but also by user communities. Some of these approaches are already being implemented at some data centers. However, limitations of budget and time preclude this report being a comprehensive review of individual data center operations. The committee would like to thank the workshop participants, whose participation and expertise made the event successful. In addition, the committee would like to acknowledge the contributions of Marjory Blumenthal, director, and Jon Eisenberg of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board; Anne Linn, director of the Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data; and especially Keri Moore, study director, who worked diligently toward the completion of the project. Jeff Dozier Chair

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Government Data Centers: Meeting Increasing Demands Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   ABOUT THE DATA CENTERS   7 2   CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES   15     Challenges in Data Availability and Access,   15     Standard Translatable Formats,   18     Network and On-Line Random Access,   19     Database Technologies,   21     Metadata Management,   22     Hardware and Software,   24     Implementation,   26     REFERENCES   31     APPENDIXES         A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   35     B Workshop Agenda   39     C Workshop Speakers and Participants   43     D Workshop Discussions   45     E Glossary   51     F Acronyms   55

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