The CERN Data Centre has recorded over 100 million gigabytes (100 petabytes) of physics data over the last 20 years. Collisions in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) generated about 75 petabytes of this data in the past three years, according to the CERN website.
How much is one hundred petabytes? Roughly equivalent to 700 years of full HD-quality movies. The bulk of the data (about 88 petabytes) at CERN is archived on tape using the CERN Advanced Storage system (CASTOR) and the rest (13 petabytes) is stored in the EOS disk pool system.
CERN has eight robotic tape libraries distributed over two buildings, each library can contain up to 14,000 cartridges. CERN has around 52,000 tape cartridges, with capacities ranging from one terabyte to 5.5 terabytes each. For the EOS system, the data are stored on over 17,000 disks attached to 800 disk servers.
The Data Centre will keep busy during the Long Shutdown of the whole accelerator complex, analysing data taken during the LHC’s first three-year run, and preparing for the higher expected data flow when upgraded accelerators and experiments start up again, says CERN.
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