Wednesday, January 17, 2007

LCA 2007 My Day 1

Today was day 3 of linux conf au, but it was the first day I attended and only got there just before 2pm. As I wanted to hear Michael Carden's talk on Digital Preservation, I headed to the lecture room where it was scheduled. As I was one session early, I listened to Rafael Espindola's talk - The ARM backend of LLVM.

Then it was Michael's talk - Digital Preservation - The National Archives of Australia, Open Standards and Open Source. He is a very entertaining speaker and gave a great overview of what they have developed at NAA. It was interesting to discover the actual physical setup of the NAA digital archive is 3 separate systems:
  • Quarantine - where the digital objects submitted are virius scanned, then stored for 28 days and scanned again.
  • Preservation - where the digital objects media type is identified, then object is preserved as the original is base 64 encoded with metadata and as an open document format with metadata. This is all done by Xena.
  • Digitial Archive - actually 2 systems, one running Windows Server OS and the other running Linux. Each system is connected to a RAID arrays from different vendors.
The most interesting thing about the physical setup is there is no network connection to the outside world and each system is protected by an "Air Gap Firewall". In other words, all data transfer between the system is via a data carrying device (USB Portable Disk Drive). I know it sounds strange but the reasons Michael gave were valid.

The final session I attended was Stewart Smith's - eat my data: how everybody gets file IO wrong
Again a very entertaining speaker, and there was alot of attendee participation. The gist of the talk was never assume the data you have just written has made it to the platter. The various issues were explained and solutions given. Maybe I should start using the XFS filesystem.

So looking forward to tomorrow.

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