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January 18, 2011

NASA Team Working on Nebula Object Store

Nicole Hemsoth

According to an announcement today from the team behind NASA’s Nebula cloud, work is being done on “the development and implementation of the next major feature: the Nebula Object Store.” Object stores are web-based approaches to storing and retrieving data that has been created by applications that use object-oriented programming techniques.

NASA has announced that later this year Nebula users will have access to the Nebula Object Store, which his based on the OpenStack Swift project. The project is nearing beta stage and, as Devin C. Carlen of the Nebula team notes, users “should see the value and utility of object storage as they gain experience using it with their projects.”

Carlen also stated that “the Nebula Object Store is extremely scalable, allowing total storage capacity to be extended into the 100’s of petabytes (and beyond) if required—something that is not out of the realm of future possibilities given NASA’s rate of data and information generation.

The team notes that this is not block storage or volumes device and there is no concrete file system. The system uses containers and instead of requiring them to write everything to disk, users instead can input or output data in via HTTP.

One of the distinct advantages of this is that when compared to traditional block storage approaches, “object store offers the kind of scalability and flexibility NASA needs to manage its large collection of scientific data.”

Furthermore, it will be possible for users to store their files in hierarchical logical containers and will grant users minute control over access to both files and containers.

Full story at NASA