The SNIA IOTTA Trace Repository is a Web site that contains over 20 TB of scientific data related to computer storage systems, mirrored at three locations around the world. Researchers use the data from this site to evaluate and understand how computer storage operates in the real world. Over 550 papers have been published using data downloaded from the site.
This project is about maintaining and enhancing the Web site. (It is not about studying or using the data on the site.) Students will work with the Ruby on Rails Web-development framework to add features and fix problems. They will also help to locate, prepare, and post new data that has been collected in recent research projects.
Storage is the slowest part of a computer; it is also the only subsystem that is not allowed to fail. As such, storage is the most important component. But storage researchers can't do their jobs without traces that record how storage is actually used, so that they can analyze the traces and then replay them to reproduce the behavior of real applications.
Prior to the creation of the IOTTA Trace Repository, many researchers were carrying out their work using extremely outdated traces that didn't reflect current usage patterns—sometimes the traces were older than the graduate students doing the studies! The IOTTA Repository has changed that; most studies are done using recent data, and people who need to investigate historical data for comparison can easily find it.
This project offers the opportunity to have an indirect, but significant impact on the world of computers. It is also a chance to learn modern Web technologies, project management, and the running of always-on Web sites.