With StorNext, we knew we could meet our immediate need to store 400TB of satellite data while gaining the ability to expand to several petabytes over the next decade.


- Gilbert Barrot

ACRI-ST Advances The Understanding Of Earth With Satellite Data And Stornext

For more than 25 years, ACRI-ST has worked with the European Space Agency and other organizations to archive and process valuable satellite data. ACRI-ST needed a new storage solution to preserve growing satellite data while helping scientists accelerate research.

Enabling Cutting-Edge Scientific Research

Scientists, university researchers, government agencies, and other organizations worldwide draw on the more than 20 years of data maintained by ACRI-ST for a broad array of projects. “Researchers studying oceanography and global warming might want to track changing chlorophyll levels and measure salinity in the Mediterranean, or chart rising ozone levels in the atmosphere to assess the velocity of climate change,” says Barrot. “Data collected by satellites over several years helps researchers identify patterns and trends that enable us to better understand our world.”

ACRI-ST offers access to a large repository of data and offers additional processing to help streamline research. Instead of sorting through tens of thousands of ocean images, researchers can ask ACRI-ST to compute the monthly averages of chlorophyll levels—the products that those researchers need for their work.

Preparing for Petascale Data Growth with Intelligent Multi-tier Storage

To prepare for the launch of a new ESA satellite, the ACRI-ST team needed a new storage environment—one that could handle petabytes of data. “Each generation of satellite captures more data than the last,” says Barrot. “We needed a solution that would accommodate our immediate needs and would scale—cost-effectively—as we collected more and more satellite data.”

At the same time, the ACRI-ST team had to ensure that data was readily accessible for in-house scientists as well as external researchers. “The data is only valuable if researchers can use it,” says Barrot. “We have to make sure that they can access the data they need, when they need it.”

Deploying StorNext for Speed, Scale, and Compatibility

The ACRI-ST team selected a Quantum StorNext multi-tier storage solution to archive satellite data, provide data access for external researchers, and support the ACRI-ST value-added data processing workflows. StorNext offers a tiered environment that provides the right combination of scale and high-speed access. “The mix of tape and disk in a single environment gives us the best of both worlds,” says Barrot. “We can keep a cache of data immediately available on disk while storing most of the repository on more economic tape.”

By supporting a broad array of operating systems, StorNext enables ACRI-ST researchers to flexibly access and analyze data, without requiring them to modify their systems or software. “With StorNext, researchers can work with data no matter what type of server they are using,” says Barrot.

Protecting Critical Satellite Data with an Intelligent Archive

Intelligent, policy-driven tiering capabilities help protect satellite data. “If we lose the raw satellite data, it’s gone,” says Barrot. “StorNext policy-driven tiering enables us to generate copies of data so we can protect irreplaceable information.”

The ACRI-ST team also stores the data created by in-house scientists. “With StorNext, we have the capacity to keep the processed data on the system so it’s readily accessible.”

Strong system reliability helps ensure that data remains available whenever researchers need it. “The StorNext solution just works,” says Barrot. “We have had to do no maintenance, and we’ve experienced very few issues that required assistance from Quantum.”

Providing Self-Service Access to Data in the ACRI-ST Archive

Even though the ACRI-ST team of in-house researchers often needs a huge number of images, they expect fast access to their data. The StorNext file system accelerates data access in the archive by using a single namespace for the entire tiered environment.

“With other tape-based storage solutions, it could take several days for the IT staff to manually locate the correct data, retrieve a tape, and deliver the data requested by researchers,” says Barrot. “The StorNext solution enables self service. Our in-house researchers can access the files they need on their own, even when data resides on tape. Our scientists are very happy with the faster response time.”

Gaining Scale and Flexibility for the Future

From the outset, the ACRI-ST team planned to capitalize on the StorNext solution’s expandability. “With StorNext, we knew we could meet our immediate need to store 400TB of satellite data while gaining the ability to expand to several petabytes over the next decade,” says Barrot. “We can add disk capacity and tape drives—easily and inexpensively—while still maintaining a small data center footprint.”

Key Benefits

  • Archives irreplaceable satellite data with intelligent, policy-based tiering
  • Scales to support petabytes of data while retaining a small data center footprint
  • Accelerates scientific workflows by providing rapid access to data
  • Provides fast, self-service access to data with a single namespace for all storage tiers
  • Supports a full range of operating systems to accommodate a broad user base


ACRI-ST specializes in remote sensing and modeling of physical and environmental phenomena. The organization offers solutions for satellite mission simulations and environmental forecast prototyping, provides decision-making support to public agencies and local authorities, and operates environmental data centers.