back to article Genetic researchers fill 1TB a week

Fresh from its recent sinister triumph, the Wellcome Trust says that its research into genetic diseases is generating such huge data volumes that it has had to buy an extra 42TB of SATA disk arrays, 30TB of which are already full. Scientific analysis of genetic material generates output files of around 50MB, the trust said, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Haven't they heard of .zip files (or RAR or any other open source, free to use, non goverment controlled, license free, multi platform compression method. Have to mention this to aviod the fanboys).

  2. vincent himpe

    big whoop...

    2 terabyte ... thats two harddisks.

    Seagate,WD and IBM/Hitachi all have 1tb models

    This mornings ad at fry's : 500 Gbyte drive for 99$. limit 4 per customer. If 50 of those researchers hop over to their local fry's stores, they'll have enoug storage for the rest of the year.

  3. Steven Hunter


    CERN's Large Hadron Collider will generate 40 TB of data *per second*.

  4. Igor Mozolevsky

    I wonder what coding they use...

    Any chance their data looks like



























    ?... just for the ease of using a COTS xml parser?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: wonder what coding they use...

    Just started studying their coding so I can write parser for it.

    the most comon is letter per base pair

    so your example would be (preamble stuff..) AC

    they use one byte not 2 bits because they need to cover the case where a particular base could be either (A or C) or (A or C or G) or any base or base is unknown etcetera.

    There is a file format that only handles specified single base pairs and it use 2 bits per base with padding where needed to bring a sequence to 32 bits so it runs faster on 4 byte word machines.

    Unfortunately they do all this in (6 different idioms for every common concept) PERL so it is easier to start writing utilities from screatch than trying to read existing code.[Key PERL fan boy flames)

  6. Adrian Crooks

    It's more than just picking up a bunch of cheapo drives

    For research that is supposedly valuable I wouldn't dare put them on cheap generic drives. 1TB drives are a recent item so I would be careful if I were to go out to the local fry's/best buy/compusa. Regardless the biggest issue I would have would be the physical space, power, and maintenance requirements.

    If the data has to be accessed on the fly so that .zip files are out of the question they could still evaluate compressed partitions.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some of these comments are excellent examples

    of "consumer" coding fanboys. Big science doesn't use the simple tools code-droids are used to. There is another world of computing outside "Windows and -inx" that most people will never be exposed to.

    Big science uses IT as a tool, it is not the end-all-be-all "world" for that industry. Big science is one of the few industries that hasn't fallen completely for the smokescreen that is IT.

  8. Kibble

    RE: data storage

    Just thinking, it would be interesting to know if off site backups were being made and how quickly they could be brought up online. (Another whole server farm, perhaps?)

  9. James Darley

    RE: data storage

    If the generation of the 200Gb of data was performed over 1 week at a constant rate, they'd need around a 5Mbit/s connection to be able to back it up to a remotely hosted SAN. If it was just within working hours, you'd be looking at around 20Mbit/s

    It doesn't seem that unviable... bearing in mind that "Big Science"(tm) has pretty deep pockets.

    I'd guess that they'd have an alternative site for something like this - how would you explain to the big boss how you'd lost *everything* in the event of a major incident?

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