Australian storage conversion company Tape Ark has been awarded a subcontract to digitize reams of tape data used by the UK’s Meteorological Office.
The deal to transfer the data to Azure cloud is part of Microsoft’s £1.2 billion ($1.56bn) contract to provide the UK weather agency with a supercomputing-as-a-service through a 60 petaflops HPE Cray EX system.
Tape Ark believes the contract is the world’s largest-ever tape to cloud ingest project, with more than 220 petabytes of historical weather data being shifted onto Microsoft Azure.
“We are extremely pleased to work with Microsoft on this project as we continue to move towards our greater purpose of liberating the most valuable data collections on the planet, so that new discoveries can be made,” Guy Holmes, founder and CEO of Tape Ark, said.
“To be doing this for projects related to climate change and global warming has given the whole team at Tape Ark a real sense of purpose.”
The wider contract is currently being fought in court by Atos, which said that it was unfairly excluded from the bidding process. This month, a court refused to hear whether the new system is equivalent to an older model.
In a separate deal, Tape Ark has worked with Microsoft to test out the cloud company’s prototype long-term storage product, Project Silica. It uses a femtosecond laser to encode data in glass by creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations at various depths and angles – that is, it etches data on special glass that lasts hundreds of years.
“In this proof of concept, Microsoft and Tape Ark worked together to demonstrate how Project Silica can help achieve the goals of mass liberation of data assets from tape, while ensuring the assets’ long-term preservation is secure on a medium that will stand the test of time using innovative archival storage in glass,” Microsoft VP Jurgen Willis said.