Tertiary Disk and GridPix

Satoshi Asami asami at FreeBSD.ORG
Mon Mar 2 23:27:43 PST 1998

Tertiary Disk: Scalable, Economical Storage meets the Art World

Tertiary Disk is a storage system architecture that exploits the
rapidly decreasing disk price to create large disk storage
systems. The name comes from twin goals: to have the cost per megabyte
and capacity of tape libraries and the performance of magnetic disk
drives. We use commodity, off-the-shelf components to develop a
scalable, low cost, terabyte-capacity disk system.  Tertiary Disk uses
PCs connected by a switched network to host a large number of disks.

This architecture has several advantages over traditional disk arrays:
it avoids the cost of custom designed components, is more flexible,
and supports incremental expansion.  Our prototype consists of 20
200MHz P6 PCs that host 370 8GB IBM disks and connected through
100Mbps switched Ethernet.  The PCs run FreeBSD 3.0-current with
Justin Gibbs' CAM patches.

The main application of Tertiary Disk is the image server called "the
Zoom Project."  The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have thumbnail
sketches of about 65,000 objects of art, which they have been
providing over the Internet for two years with a search engine.  The
Tertiary Disk prototype is used to serve larger versions (up to 3,072
x 2048 pixels) of the images.  Cal undergrads have cleaned up about
22,000 full-sized images so far that you can zoom in and zoom out via
a HTML-based user interface called "GridPix".  The range is from 1/8th
actual size to 4X times actual size in powers of 2.

If you want to see the images yourself, go to www.thinker.org (the
museum site), click on the Imagebase area, then type in your favorite
artist.  When a list of thumbnails appear, click on any one with a red
numeral next to it, and then click on GridPix or select your screen
size from the menu.  You can zoom in by clicking anywhere in the
image, zoom out by clicking on the magnifying glass with the minus
sign, and click on ? to learn more commands.

Satoshi Asami
asami at freebsd.org, asami at cs.berkeley.edu

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