Well nearly…

It’s nice being able to tell a story about cloud computing being used to power some really cool projects. While Youtube is cool and all, it doesn’t come close to the coolness of exploring the depths of the oceans or outer space. It’s in this second category that this post lies – apparently the European Space Agency (ESA) currently has a project called Gaia is a project to;

conduct a census of one thousand million stars in our Galaxy. It will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a five-year period, precisely charting their positions, distances, movements, and changes in brightness. It is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and failed stars called brown dwarfs. Within our own Solar System, Gaia should also identify tens of thousands of asteroids.

Which, you have to admit, is a pretty cool thing. (oh and along the way Gaia will also provide stringent new tests of Albert Einstein’s general relativity theory)

Apparently The Server Labs (TSL), a cloud computing consultancy firm, has decided on a project to migrate the Gaia project over to Amazon EC2. The Server Labs estimates the ESA could save 50 percent in overall costs.

In May this year The Server Labs successfully completed the first feasibility study with ESA testing the potential of moving the project’s data processing to the Cloud the nuts and bolts of the project involves the processing of massive quantities of data collected in space – the sort of use-case that is tailor-made for the hyper-scalability that cloud computing brings.

In the next stage of the project, TSL will further test the capacity of its data processing, testing the horizontal scalability of Gaia’s data processing grid to limits impossible with the current in-house cluster. TSL will run ESA’s Gaia data processing in Amazon’s Cloud, incorporating RightScale’s and Oracle’s technology.

Geek and science fiction fact? A match made in heaven!

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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