Platinum Tech software chosen for NASA's EOSDIS

Electronic Data Systems Corp. has tapped Platinum Technology Inc.'s job scheduling software for a role on NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System.

Planned to be one of the largest distributed data and distributed processing systems in the world, EOSDIS will assemble at least seven Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs), each of which will process and store terabytes of satellite remote-sensing data. Platinum will provide commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) job scheduling software, called AutoSys, for this massive distributed system.

"When you think of it as controlling the processing, [our product is] kind of the CPU for the distributed system," said Bill Arntz, vice president of the AutoSystems Lab at Platinum. "[NASA] is going to have terabytes of data scattered over scores of machines, eventually all over the world. We're the sweaty guys in the engine room."

Platinum was chosen for its price performance and its facility with handling large systems, according to Bob Horrigan, EDS' program manager. EOSDIS "is a heterogeneous system, and AutoSys runs multiple computer platforms" and is scalable, Horrigan said. A subcontractor to EOSDIS prime contractor Hughes Information Systems Inc., EDS purchases COTS software for EOSDIS.

Favoring COTS

"One of our requirements is to choose COTS wherever possible," Horrigan said. For job scheduling, "it was hands-down much more cost-effective to go with the COTS products," said Horrigan, who added that a number of job scheduling software products have emerged to respond to a growing market. "As big users move into a client/server environment, these types of systems are going to be more and more important, especially as jobs are distributed."

"The daily flows will be in the terabytes," said Rick Kochhar, Hughes' release manager for EOSDIS. "We'll probably have storage in the petabytes range. The interesting thing about the project is, One, it's very distributed, and two, we're at the cutting edge of a lot of technologies to do this kind of work. Part of our charter was to integrate as many commercial products as we could. We had to go out and get the most leading-edge products, and AutoSys happened to fall into that category."

EOSDIS is currently in Release B. Release A supported data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission; Release B will add support for two other instruments: the AM-1 and Landsat-7 satellites. As a result, Release B will support more data and more DAACs.

AutoSys will manage "thousands and thousands of jobs a day," Kochhar said. "AutoSys has to figure out on what priority order do you base your process. Jobs of a certain size may get preference over others, for example.

"AutoSys allows you to [set priorities] in a number a ways," Kochhar said.


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