RDA Data Rejuvenation Spa

The theme for day 5 of International Love Your Data Week 2017 is Data Rescue.  At the RDA, we don't just do Data Rescue, we offer total Data Rejuvenation at our Data Spa™.

At the RDA, saving data from death by bit rot is just one of our many services.

Boxes of tapes from various universities and the National Archives in Denver awaiting the RDA Data Rejuvenation treatment.
You want a scenic locale?  Can Canyon Ranch or Oja Valley Inn top this?

This is not photoshopped.  It actually looks like this when a late Spring storm dusts the Continental Divide with snow while it rains on the plains and in the lower foothills.

The plush treatment for these lucky tapes began during their journey to the NCAR, but most boxes of tapes arrive without any cushioning.

These tapes were lovingly packed with cushy materials.

First, the tapes are bathed to bring out their natural beauty.

Tape cleaner, the first data rejuvenation spa treatment.
Then they are read.

Is the old data packed in 6-bit words instead of the now-standard 8-bit word?  Does it have an extra parity bit for error checking?  No problem.  They will be matched by our data whisperer, Bob Dattore, to the right tape reader that can understand their language.
We have two 9-track tape drives and one 7-track one.  6-bit words?  Parity bit?  No problem!
Atmospheric and oceanic data may be sanity checked by RDA data specialists cross-trained in meteorology or oceanography.  If needed they can be translated to modern data formats and outfitted with modern metadata, readable by both humans and machines.

Then the data is put on transfer disks, ready for their owner to pull over the internet using NCAR's blazing fast network.


NCAR RDA partial outage February 7, 2017

The NCAR CISL High Performance Storage System (HPSS) will be down from 7 AM MST Tuesday February 7, 2017 until 9 AM MST Wednesday February 8, 2017.

Users requesting HPSS data (on tape) will experience a one-day delay, but need not do anything special. HPSS data services will automatically resume upon completion of this work.


RDA System Outages on Wed, Jan 18 around 9 AM MST

RDA web and database servers will be undergoing system maintenance tomorrow morning, Wednesday, Jan 18 around 9AM MST.  There will likely be brief outages while this maintenance is performed.


Where to get WRF help

A large subset or RDA users also run WRF.  In order to clear up confusion about the appropriate place to get help, I'm compiling this information in one place.
For fastest answers to common RDA questions, read the RDA FAQ page or search this blog.


RDA Data Access Services back online

All RDA data access services are back online.  The compute systems that process subset, format conversion, and re-staging of data from tape to disk requests are still offline, but should be back online within a few hours.  Once these systems come back online request processing will resume.  Thanks for your patience during today's maintenance window.


RDA Data Access Services Offline on Tuesday, Jan 10.

All RDA data transfer services will be going offline tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan 10 while system maintenance if performed.  We hope to have these services restored in the afternoon, MST.


Remembering Roy Jenne (1931-2016)

Roy L. Jenne, the founding leader of NCAR's data support services and a researcher of global climatology, died November 18 at Foothills Hospital in Boulder. He was 85.

Shortly after arriving at NCAR in 1965, Jenne started the Data Support Section (DSS), which is now part of NCAR's Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL). DSS has helped researchers at NCAR and in the atmospheric and Earth system science community ever since.

"With a small team, he recognized the importance of collecting, preserving, and providing access to scientific data," said Steven Worley, CISL's current DSS manager. "In addition to data, he also loved the science that relied upon it."

Under Jenne's direction, NCAR became one of the world's primary archives of observational and model data to support weather and climate research, including the efforts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and of global atmospheric reanalyses in the United States and abroad.
Read more from Remembering Roy Jenne (1931-2016).
A memorial gathering for family, friends, and colleagues has been scheduled for the Damon Room at the Mesa Lab on February 16 from 3 to 5 p.m.
If you can't attend in person, please share your favorite Roy Jenne stories as a comment.


RDA Data Access Services Restored

All RDA data access services have been restored.   We apologize for the any inconvenience during yesterday's downtime.


RDA Data Access Capabilities Unavailable

Storage systems that support the RDA are currently down for unscheduled maintenance, and all RDA data transfer services are unavailable.  An update will be posted when these services are restored.  Thank you for your patience.


NCAR's Research Data Archive featured on UCARConnect 2

The November 2016 issue of UCARConnectData: The Currency of Science is now live.  The NCAR RDA is proud to have contributed to this issue.

RDA Data Specialist, Grace Peng, wrote Big Data, Big Planet
We’re experiencing a big data explosion both in cultural awareness and in penetration into many aspects of everyday life. How did we get here? What role do weather and climate play in our data moment?

Big data is characterized by its "Vs": Volume, Variety and Velocity. Data volume is “big” if it is too large to reside on or be processed with a personal computer.

Did you know that even in the pre-computer era, weather data was the original big data use case? It’s most useful when we have a lot of it and we need the data in real-time. Furthermore, we use a large variety of physical measurements to characterize the state of the atmosphere and ocean.
RDA manager, Steve Worley, and former intern, Sophie Hou, speak about the history of the RDA and scientific data in general in this video.

Sophie Hou has joined NCAR permanently as our new Data Curation & Stewardship Coordinator. Read her career profile about what led her to this exciting career.

UCARConnect is a (roughly) bimonthly publication of UCAR aimed at science enthusiasts of all ages, including K-12 students and teachers.