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This Data is Going Places – LIGO Caltech Observes First Gravitational Waves

Proving major scientific theories and breaking barriers in astrophysics is all in a day’s work for LIGO.

Getting a billion light-year peek into the past, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors of Caltech and MIT discovered gravitational waves indicating the merger of two black holes into a more massive spinning black hole. LIGO’s detection opened the field of gravitational-wave astrophysics and confirmed a major prediction from Einstein’s 1915 General Theory of Relativity…a theory so radical for its time it’s taken a century to develop, test, analyze, and measure the physical reality of gravitational waves.

This project has created a staggering 6.4 PB of data made up of over 1.7 billion files of raw instrument data and analytics processing information. All contained in a central data archive, it’s critical their storage solution delivered high performance, capacity, reliability, and power efficiency to optimize its storage footprint and save on power and administration costs.

That’s a lot of data to manage, and they needed the right partner to help figure out how. LIGO turned to its strategic partner, Westlake Technologies Inc., who recommended Nexsan storage solutions after a previous successful storage deployment with Caltech’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC). With Nexsan, the LIGO project achieved new levels of storage performance and reliability as the team continued to amass new discoveries and gather more data.

“We will continue exploring the next wave of uncharted territory as we continue to improve the sensitivity of the LIGO instruments and probe ever further out into the Universe,” said Stuart B. Anderson, Senior Research Scientist, LIGO Caltech. “Nexsan and Westlake will be with us on this continued exploration of colliding black holes, neutron stars and hopefully many other exciting unexpected discoveries.”

Want more info how Nexsan helps Caltech store petabytes of data from the LIGO project? Download the full case study here.