Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Storage system for 'big data' dramatically speeds access to information

30.01.2014
Using multiple nodes allows the same bandwidth and performance from a storage network as far more expensive machines

As computers enter ever more areas of our daily lives, the amount of data they produce has grown enormously.

But for this "big data" to be useful it must first be analyzed, meaning it needs to be stored in such a way that it can be accessed quickly when required.

Previously, any data that needed to be accessed in a hurry would be stored in a computer's main memory, or dynamic random access memory (DRAM) — but the size of the datasets now being produced makes this impossible.

So instead, information tends to be stored on multiple hard disks on a number of machines across an Ethernet network. However, this storage architecture considerably increases the time it takes to access the information, according to Sang-Woo Jun, a graduate student in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.

"Storing data over a network is slow because there is a significant additional time delay in managing data access across multiple machines in both software and hardware," Jun says. "And if the data does not fit in DRAM, you have to go to secondary storage — hard disks, possibly connected over a network — which is very slow indeed."

Now Jun, fellow CSAIL graduate student Ming Liu, and Arvind, the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, have developed a storage system for big-data analytics that can dramatically speed up the time it takes to access information.

The system, which will be presented in February at the International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays in Monterey, Calif., is based on a network of flash storage devices.

Flash storage systems perform better at tasks that involve finding random pieces of information from within a large dataset than other technologies. They can typically be randomly accessed in microseconds. This compares to the data "seek time" of hard disks, which is typically four to 12 milliseconds when accessing data from unpredictable locations on demand.

Flash systems also are nonvolatile, meaning they do not lose any of the information they hold if the computer is switched off.

In the storage system, known as BlueDBM — or Blue Database Machine — each flash device is connected to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip to create an individual node. The FPGAs are used not only to control the flash device, but are also capable of performing processing operations on the data itself, Jun says.

"This means we can do some processing close to where the data is [being stored], so we don't always have to move all of the data to the machine to work on it," he says.

What's more, FPGA chips can be linked together using a high-performance serial network, which has a very low latency, or time delay, meaning information from any of the nodes can be accessed within a few nanoseconds. "So if we connect all of our machines using this network, it means any node can access data from any other node with very little performance degradation, [and] it will feel as if the remote data were sitting here locally," Jun says.

Using multiple nodes allows the team to get the same bandwidth and performance from their storage network as far more expensive machines, he adds.

The team has already built a four-node prototype network. However, this was built using 5-year-old parts, and as a result is quite slow.

So they are now building a much faster 16-node prototype network, in which each node will operate at 3 gigabytes per second. The network will have a capacity of 16 to 32 terabytes.

Using the new hardware, Liu is also building a database system designed for use in big-data analytics. The system will use the FPGA chips to perform computation on the data as it is accessed by the host computer, to speed up the process of analyzing the information, Liu says.

"If we're fast enough, if we add the right number of nodes to give us enough bandwidth, we can analyze high-volume scientific data at around 30 frames per second, allowing us to answer user queries at very low latencies, making the system seem real-time," he says. "That would give us an interactive database."

As an example of the type of information the system could be used on, the team has been working with data from a simulation of the universe generated by researchers at the University of Washington. The simulation contains data on all the particles in the universe, across different points in time.

"Scientists need to query this rather enormous dataset to track which particles are interacting with which other particles, but running those kind of queries is time-consuming," Jun says. "We hope to provide a real-time interface that scientists can use to look at the information more easily."

Helen Knight | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Information integration and artificial intelligence for better diagnosis and therapy decisions
24.05.2017 | Fraunhofer MEVIS - Institut für Bildgestützte Medizin

nachricht World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world
18.05.2017 | RMIT University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>