- ’ &. United States General Accounting Office Fact Sheet for the Chairman, Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate September 1990 SPACEDATA Information on Data Storage Technologies r RESTRICTED --Not to be released outside the General Accounting Once unless specifically approved by the OfRce of Congressional Relations. GAO/IMTEC-90438FS United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20648 Information Management and Technology Division B-240617 September 12, 1990 The Honorable Albert Gore, Jr. Chairman, Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate Dear Mr. Chairman: As requested by your office, we are providing information on current and advanced data storage technologies to assist the committee in evalu- ating their potential use for the National Aeronautics and Space Admin- istration’s (NASA) future storage needs. Specifically, you requested that we identify the general characteristics and costs of these data storage technologies. In a future report we will furnish information on NASA'S plans for using and applying these technologies to store the large amounts of space science data expected from the growing number of missions scheduled for the 1990s. The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 19681 placed responsibility on NASA for conducting space exploration research that contributes to the expansion of human knowledge and directed it to provide the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of this information. Since 1968 NASA has spent more than $24 billion on space science to help us understand our planet, solar system, and the universe. It has launched over 260 mJor space science missions and has acquired massive volumes of data. The majority of data from these past missions is stored on at least 1.2 million magnetic tapes, which have the capacity to store over 90 billion pages of text.* NASA anticipates the volume of data generated and stored for future mis- sions will be unparalleled in the history of the agency. It estimates that the annual volume of archived data will rise from 63 terabiW in 1990 to more than 4,200 terabits by the late lQQOs-more than a 6,500-percent ‘Public Law S-668. ‘This estimate is based on the storage capacity of a standard 2,4OO-foot-longtape, with data stored at 6,250 bits per inch. A single page of text contains about 400 words, with 6 characters per word-or about 19,200 bits of data. “One terabit of data is approximately 10’” bits (or 1 trillion bits). About 700 high-density tapes 1ti.%O bits per inch) would be required to store 1 terabit of data. Page 1 GA0/IMTEC88F’S Lhta Storage Technologies and NASA E-240617 jump. Figure 1 shows the expected increase in data volumes through the 1990s. Figure 1: NASA’s Estimated Annual Data Volume 4500 Tuablta or Dam Storing such large volumes of data will require new and more efficient data-storage media. In the past few years large strides have been made in both magnetic tape and optical disk technologies with the commercial introduction of higher capacity tape and optical media. Appendix I briefly explains several commercially available data storage technolo- gies. The choice of a data-storage medium depends on the amount of data to be archived, the storage capacity of the medium, and the cost of the medium and supporting equipment needed to access it. Appendix II presents several general performance and archiving characteristics of data-storage technologies. Appendix III presents a detailed breakdown of costs. The information in this report was obtained from manufacturers’ speci- fications, available literature, and discussions with NASA officials and other experts. Our work was conducted between December 1989 and Page 2 GAO/JMTEG8O-9SR3 Da- Stomge Technologies and NASA 5240617 July 1990. We discussed the contents of this report with NASA headquar- ters, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Goddard Space Flight Center offi- cials, and have incorporated their comments where appropriate. Details of our objectives, scope, and methodology appear in appendix IV. As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of it until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that time we will send copies to other appropriate congressional committees; the Administrator, NASA; and other interested parties. We will also make copies available to others upon request. This work was performed under the direction of Samuel W. Rowlin, Director, Defense and Security Information Systems, who can be reached at (202) 275-4649. Other major contributors are listed in appendix V. Sincerely yours, Ralph V. Carlone Assistant Comptroller General P8ge 3 Contents Letter 1 Appendix I 6 Definitions of Data- Storage Technologies Appendix II General Characteristics Appendix III 16 Costs of the Technologies Appendix IV 17 Objectives, Scope,and Methodology Appendix V 19 Major Contributors to This Report Figures Figure 1: NASA’s Estimated Annual Data Volume 2 Figure I. 1: Magnetic Reel 6 Figure 1.2: 34800mpatible 7 Figure 1.3: Helical Scan, 4mm 8 Figure 1.4: Compact Disk-Read Only Memory 9 Figure 1.5: Write Once Read Many 10 Figure 1.6: Rewritable Optical Disk 11 Figure 1.7: Optical Tape 12 P8ge 4 GAO/‘lMTEC~~ Lhta Storage Technologka and WA Contents Abbreviationa CD-ROM compact disk-read only memory DAT digital audio tape GAO General Accounting Office GB gigabyte IMTJX Information Management and Technology Division MB megabyte NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration WORM write once read many Page 6 GAO/‘IMTEG~Fs Data Storage Technolo&s and ?iASA Appendix I Definitions of DataStorage Technologies The following is a brief description of seven data-storage technologies that were commercially available when we did our work. The figures used to portray each technology were provided by several manufac- turers and used with their permission. Their use, however, does not imply an approval or endorsement of the manufacturers or their prod- ucts by us. Magnetic Reel One-half-inch wide, reusable, 9-track magnetic tape. Data are written horizontally on the tape and wound on reels. Tape is considered a sequential-access medium, i.e., data records are accessed one after the other, in the order in which they are physically stored on the tape. Figure 1.1: Magnetic Reel Source: Ampex Corporation. Page 6 GAO/lMTEG9048Fs Data storage Technologies and NA!SA Appendix I Definitions of DataStorage Tehnologks 3480-Compatible One-half-inch wide, reusable, l&track magnetic tape, stored in car- tridges. Data are written horizontally on the tape. This is a sequential- access medium. Figure 1.2: 3480-Compatible Source: Fujitsu America, Inc. Page 7 GAO/lMTEG9O-8SFs Data Stmage Te&nologies and SASA Appendix I Deflnltlona of DataStmage Technologh Helical Scan This technology uses a rotating head to write data diagonally on reus- able magnetic tape. The most common tape sizes are 8 millimeter (mm) tape and 4mm digital audio tape (DAT). Helical scan is a sequential-access medium. Figure 1.3:Helled Scan, 4mm , Source: Sony Corporation of America. Page 8 GAO/lMTEC9o4gFs Data Storage Technologies and NASA L-L----.------------ __...“-.___ ____--- __L_I_C_C_____-_I-I--- + __ . I __ “I_c----- Aj~~reni’ix ‘. Dtllnjrmns of Iw~Stxrage’ieeaw~rgies AppendLx I Definitions of DataStorage Technologies Write Once Read Many The WORM is an optical disk on which data are written by laser. The disk can only be written on once and is accessed randomly. (WORM) Figure 1.5:Write Once Read Many Source: Panasonic Commumcations and Systems Company, Division of Matsushita Electric Corporation of America. Page 10 GAO/JMTEC9O-SSFs Data Storage Technologies and NASA Appendix I Definitions of Data&m-age Technologies Rewritable Optical Disk A magneto-optical disk that combines magnetic and optical (laser) recording technologies. The disk can be written on many times and is accessed randomly. Figure 1.6:Rewritable Optical Disk Source: Sony Corporation of America. Page 11 GAO/IMTEG9OJ38FS Data Storage Technologies and NASA Appendix I Defhltlons of Data&mage Technologies Optical Tape A product made from digital paper, a thin flexible film manufactured in large rolls and cut into many shapes and sizes. Data are written once by laser on a nonreusable tape. This is a sequential-access medium. Figure 1.7:Optical Tape Source: Cl Imagedata. Page 12 GAO-m Data Storage Technologies and NASA Page 13 GAO-H Daa Stomge Technologies nnd NASA Appendix II General Characteristicsa TeChnOlOQy Characteristic Magnetic reel 3480~compatibleb Storage capacity Low Low .09-.2GB 2GB Access time High Med l-5 mm 13-25 set Transfer rate Low/Mod Med/High (per second) .3-l .25MB 1S-4 5MB Storage lifeC Low Low 3-10 yrs 3-10 yrs Bit error rate Hlgh Low/High 10-10 10-13. ,0-l, Format standards? Yes Yea Mature technoloav? Yea Yes Page 14 GAO/lMTEC3O-t3SFS Data Stirage Techmhgb ud WA Appendix Il General Characteri8tlC3 Technology Rewritable Optical Helical 4mm (DA77 Helical 6mm CD-ROM WORM 5.25” WORM 12” WORM 14” optical disk taoe High High MOd Mod High High Med High 1.3GB 2-5GB .5-,808 .6-.9GB 2-6GB 7-8GB .6-l GB 1OOOGB Med High Low Low Low Low Low Mod 20 set 10 min 150-800 ms 60-250 ms 145-250 ms 9-700 ms 35-95 ms 28 set Low Low Low Low/Med Low MOd Low/Mod High .2MB .5MB .15MB .3-l .3MB .3-.8MB 1MB 15-l .5MB 3MB Low Low Med/High Med MOd Med Med Med 3-10 vrs 3-10 vrs 20-100 yrs 1O-30 yrs 1O-30 yrs 1O-30 yrs lO+ yrs 15+ vrs Low Low MOd MOd Med MOd Med Med 10-15 10-13 10-Q 10-Q 10-12 10-12 1o-12 10-12 No No Yes No No No No No No No Yes No No No No No Wanufacturer specifications were used as the information source in most cases. The actual. effective values may be different. For example, the bit error rate does not include errors caused by hardware or handling problems. Transfer rates have been reported by some users to be as low as half of what manufacturers claim. b‘rhere are two versions of 34&l drives. cOpttcal technologies have not been commercially available for data storage long enough to know ‘f they will meet the claims for storage life. Definitions Storage capacity: the amount of data that can be stored on the medium, measured In glgabytes (GB) A gigabyte is approximately one billion bytes of data, and one byte IS 8 data btts. For archIving, higher capacity is Important for storing a high volume of data. Access time: the interval between a request to read or store data and the completton of that task Time is measured in mrnutes (min), seconds (set). or milliseconds (ms). A mtllisecond IS one thousandth of a second. For archiving, access time IS less important than other charactenstcs. Transfer rate: the rate at which data are transferred from the drive to the computer, measured In megabytes &IS) per second. A megabyte is one million bytes of data. For archiving, a high transfer rate IS important when frequent requests or large volumes of data must be accessed from storage Stora e life: the period of time data will remain usable given reasonable care and maintenance of the m ia or archiving, -a-%- ” media with a long storage life reduces the frequency of recopying the data over time. Bit error rate: the probability of a bit of data delivered from the device being Incorrect. For archtvlng. it IS important that data that will be stored for future reference and analysis be correct and therefore have a low bit error rate. Format standards: rules describing how the data are stored. For archiving, format standards are espe- cially important because the data will be used over a long penod of time, probably by many users Mature tecl7nology: a technology that is readily availabte on the commercial market and that has been In operattona use In many Installations over a substantial period of time. For archiving, a mature medium IS important to ensure that It can be kept and read easily and accurately over a long penod of time P8ge 16 GAO/IblTEGllO433F’S Data Storage Technologies and ?USA Appendix III Costs of the Technologiesa coa per Modla unit Technolom mwtabyteb cow Drive cost Maanetic reel $0.1 l-.16 $14-21 WlOO-20,000 3460-compatibled .03-08 6-16 15,ooo-90,ooo Helical 4mm .02-.03 20-35 4,00+7,000 Helical 8mm .003-,008 6-40 3,000-7,000 CD-ROM 1500 master/ .02-.20 2 COPY 4453,695 WORM 5.25” .ll-33 65-298 2,500-10,000 WORM 12” .07-.17 346-400 13,000-17,000 WORM 14” .07-.09 595 25,000 Rewritable optical disk .42-.65 249-650 4,50+10,950 Ootical taDe .Ol 10.000 200.000 aThese figures are for comparison purposes only. Wa limited our review to the media and drive costs. Other hardware and software to access and use the storage medium would be needed, dependrng on the technology selected. For example, one large mass storage system we identrfied included a supercomputer, numerous user workstations, an operations workstation, magnetic disks, printers, a local area network, and a smaller computer known as a file server, which essenttally permrts compo- nents of the system to access the mass storage system. bThe cost per megabyte was calculated by divrding the minimum cost for the storage technology (drsk, tape, etc.) by the mmimum capacity for the low end of the range, and dividing the maximum cost and capacity for the high end of the range. CThis represents the cost for one unit of storage media, i.e., one tape reel, cartridge, or disk dThere are two classes of 3480 drives: large, and the smaller “rack mountable” versron. The low-end pricing IS for the smaller version, and high end for the larger versron. Page 16 GAO/JMTEC9O&Wf3 Data Storage Tednologks and NASA Ppe &y&ves, Scope,and Methodology The Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, asked us to identify (1) rele- vant advanced data storage technologies, including their strengths, weaknesses, and costs; (2) current NASAinitiatives in this area; and (3) major agency programs that may benefit from the use of these technolo- gies. As agreed in a subsequent meeting with the Subcommittee, this report provides information on the first area, relevant technologies and their attributes, in summary form; information on the second and third areas will be presented in a follow-up report. Information on the estimated volumes of data to be generated through the year 2000 was obtained from the NASA Office of Space Science and Applications. To identify and describe applicable data storage technologies, we conducted a literature search of articles describing advanced data archiving technologies; contacted manufacturers of advanced data archiving technologies to obtain product background and specifications; reviewed NASA studies, reports, and other documents related to data management prepared by various scientific groups and committees; interviewed NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Goddard Space Plight Center officials (including National Space Science Data Center officials) responsible for managing and overseeing NASA'S data; conferred with data storage media experts; and attended a symposium on mass storage systems sponsored by the Insti- tute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. We reviewed articles in the literature and studies as a basis for identi- fying relevant data-storage technologies. We limited inclusion to those technologies that were available commercially and capable of handling large volumes of data. Characteristics and cost information on each technology was gathered from all sources identified above, and inconsistencies in reported attrib- utes were resolved. Manufacturers’ specifications were used as a pri- mary data source. Information on technology performance was accepted as provided; no testing of equipment was done to verify the accuracy of manufacturers’ claims or other reports of performance. To compare the costs of the various technologies we obtained price information on the media and the drive required to access the data. An Page 17 GAO/IMTEGOO-&l~ Data Stmage Technologies and USA actual storage system requires much more than these components; how- ever, the wide variety of ways in which a complete storage system could be assembled limited us from providing cost information on complete systems. Experts in data archiving, data processing, magnetic media, and space data storage reviewed our technology definitions and attributes for their accuracy and appropriateness. Our audit work was performed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards, between December 1989 and July 1990, at various locations including NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Page 18 GAO/IMTEC9O-SSFs D&A Storrge Technologies and NASA Appendix V Major Conttibutors to This Report - Ronald W. Beers, Assistant Director Information Yvette Ramos, Staff Evaluator Management and Technology Division, Washington, DC. Los Angeles Regional George Vindigni, Evaluator-in-Charge Office Monica L. Kelly, Staff Evaluator James D. Nolan, Staff Evaluator Shawnalynn R. Smith, Staff Evaluator (aloaoz) Page 19 GAO/LMl’EG@6.88F’S Data Stomge Technobgk- ud WA Ordering Information The fast five copies of each GAO report are free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accom- panied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20877 Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 2756241. --. _., United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Official Business Penalty for Private Use $300
Space Data: Information on Data Storage Technologies
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-12.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)