IBM Customer Success
Software Development Industry

      BCS speeds access to gridded data
      100-fold with IBM Inf...
Software Development Industry

                                                           Since 1995, BCS has powered i...
access very specific “slices” of timely
meteorological data for particular
locations, rather than sift through
data for an...
Researchers can use the Grid                The real-world applications seem            For more information
DataBlade on ...
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BCS Speeds Access to Gridded Data


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BCS speeds access to gridded data 100-fold.

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BCS Speeds Access to Gridded Data

  1. 1. IBM Customer Success Software Development Industry BCS speeds access to gridded data 100-fold with IBM Informix Dynamic Server. Overview n Application BCS Grid DataBlade, an extension to IBM Informix ® Dynamic Server that supports efficient storage and manipulation of gridded multi- dimensional data n Business Benefits First-to-market solution responds to customers’ needs for realtime, customized analysis of gridded data; analysis of data subsets 50 to 100 times faster than with previous technology; reduced bandwidth With a BCS Grid Datablade solution, U.S. Navy pilots can train on real-life scenarios— including forecasted weather patterns, visibility, wind speed and direction—using PC-based flight simulation software. and disk capacity allows for improved network performance n Software IBM Informix Dynamic Server, How can a fighter pilot experience his “We considered both next mission in realtime, two days in Version 9.3 Oracle and Microsoft SQL n Hardware advance, including the thunderstorm he is likely to encounter at a specific Server as the information IBM ^ pSeries ™ moment along his route? How can a management platform for researcher perform multiple oblique our product. But IDS was sections of a real human organ the only database that without leaving her desk? How can a was both cost-effective forestry company project a harvest- ing schedule for trees that have not and explicitly designed to even begun to grow? Victoria, British handle the complex data Columbia based software developer types and analyses on Barrodale Computing Services Ltd. which our clients rely.” (BCS) deals with such questions –Ian Barrodale, President and Owner, daily. With only ten employees, BCS is Barrodale Computing Services Ltd. a small company—but the software solutions it delivers address big technical challenges such as these.
  2. 2. Software Development Industry Since 1995, BCS has powered its solutions with the robust database technologies that form the core of IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS). That was the year the company focused its development skills and experience on object-relational According to BCS President and database management systems Owner Ian Barrodale, he and his col- (ORDBMS) to create effective leagues selected IDS for this initiative solutions for a wealth of applications. over several other leading databases. These solutions—which include “We considered both Oracle and mathematical modeling and statistical Microsoft SQL Server as the informa- analysis, signal and image process- tion management platform for our Using the powerful IDS database, BCS Grid ing, simulation and other advanced gridded data product,” he notes. Datablade easily stores meteorological information scientific techniques—involve data “But IDS was the only database that for the earth’s full surface at all flyable altitudes. that is “gridded” in two-, three- and was both cost-effective and explicitly four-dimensional grids. designed to handle the complex data types and analyses on which our Recently, BCS developed an IDS clients rely. In addition, IBM Informix DataBlade module—a collection of DataBlade engineers provided BCS data objects and code that extend with excellent technical support.” the functionality of the IDS, Version 9.3 database—to support the storage Known as the BCS Grid DataBlade, and manipulation of gridded data. the module promises to bring power- Among the key uses of such data ful benefits to a host of industries that are geospatial applications, which rely on multidimensional data, and process information about the has sparked the interest of a broad locations and shapes of objects base of organizations in the scientific found on the earth’s surface. and government sectors. By reducing network bandwith usage and disk capacity consumption, the BCS “Since it acquired the Informix database business, solution allows organizations to perform customized analyses in IBM has proven its dedication to its Informix a much shorter time frame. customers by delivering a series of IDS releases that are technically and functionally superior to Unprecedented processing speed any that preceded them.” The Grid DataBlade initiative began a few years ago, when the U.S. Navy –Ian Barrodale needed a technology partner to cre- ate a groundbreaking meteorological application. The challenge was to
  3. 3. access very specific “slices” of timely meteorological data for particular locations, rather than sift through data for an entire area. BCS — an IBM Business Partner with IDS expertise — was at the top of the Navy’s list. The BCS Grid DataBlade solution allows the Navy to have a global weather database that users can pro- gram to extract such specific data as weather for particular flight plans over a five-day period. “Using IBM Informix database technology and the concept of data ‘slices’ to extend database functionality, our clients can analyze The BCS information management system allows scientists to extract small subsets of human cross-sections, thereby increasing efficiency of their medical research efforts. precise subsets of data directly on their server — and obtain results 50 to 100 times faster than with previous The Navy’s Fleet Numerical IDS in the service of science technology,” says Barrodale. Meteorology and Oceanography The National Oceanographic and Center (FNMOC) is integrating the Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Training pilots with realtime data BCS Grid DataBlade with flight simula- is also exploring ways to manage and Traditionally, using gridded data has tion software to create real weather distribute satellite data products using entailed downloading the entire grid- patterns in training environments. The the BCS Grid DataBlade running IDS ded dataset, then searching through it DataBlade extracts time-significant, on an IBM ^ pSeries machine. for the pertinent data. For the Navy’s location-specific weather data from These applications include modeling needs, the time required for such a four-dimensional gridded dataset ocean circulation, ocean-atmosphere downloading and searching was housed in IDS, Version 9.3 and interaction and atmospheric pro- prohibitive. “Weather forecasts for the passes it to trainees running the flight cesses as well as integrating gridded Navy are typically five days into the simulation on a PC. The result is a environmental information derived future, the altitudes go up to flyable vertical depiction of weather along from satellites with land- and heights, and the longitudes and lati- a precise flight path. ocean-based measurements. tudes cover the entire Earth. That’s a lot of data,” explains Barrodale. Says Tony Williams, a civilian contrac- The U.S. National Library of Medicine tor at FNMOC, “With the help of IBM granted BCS access to their Visible Informix database technology, this test Human Project consisting of 1,871 application can potentially grow into a parallel high-resolution colored groundbreaking product. Navy pilots images of a male cadaver, which can train for Thursday’s mission days BCS then subsampled to form a in advance—including a simulated 1.6-gigabyte 3D gridded dataset. flight through every detail of Thursday’s weather.”
  4. 4. Researchers can use the Grid The real-world applications seem For more information DataBlade on the BCS Web site to almost limitless, Barrodale adds. Please contact your IBM marketing extract 2D slices of human cross- “A major diamond company has representative, IBM Business Partner sections — at arbitrary inclinations — expressed interest in using IDS and or IBM Direct at: 1 800 IBM-CALL. without having to download the entire the BCS Grid DataBlade to conduct dataset, thus producing results in seismic surveys in the ocean,” he Visit our Web site at seconds instead of minutes. observes. “DataBlade technology could help underwater marine Currently designed to run under major For more information about Barrodale laboratories explore the movement UNIX operating systems — including Computing Services Ltd., visit: of tectonic plates and other oceano- IBM AIX® —as well as the open-source graphic phenomena—or power an Linux ® operating environment, the international project to catalog the BCS Grid DataBlade allows users millions of stars and their features.” to easily manipulate an IDS data subset — for instance, selecting a Extending IBM’s leadership to the portion of a map image and depicting Informix community it in several different projections. “The Barrodale says BCS and its custom- Grid DataBlade absolutely shines ers are pleased with IBM’s demon- ® when the subset of the data is a small strated commitment to the Informix portion of the total amount stored in user community. “Since it acquired the the IDS dataset,” explains Barrodale. Informix database business, IBM has © Copyright IBM Corporation 2003 “Something that previously took a proven its dedication to its Informix IBM Corporation Silicon Valley Laboratory minute to calculate now takes a customers by delivering a series of 555 Bailey Avenue second. Something that once took an IDS releases that are technically and San Jose, CA 95141 U.S.A. hour now takes a minute. In some functionally superior to any that pre- Produced in the United States of America cases the speed increases are even ceded them,” he notes. 04-03 more dramatic.” All Rights Reserved Barrodale is also excited about the AIX, DB2, DB2 Extender, DB2 Universal Database, the e-business logo, ^, IBM, the IBM logo, Informix possibility of adapting the DataBlade and pSeries are trademarks or registered trademarks to other IBM information management of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. products, which would broaden BCS’s Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. potential customer base even further. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group “We are confident that many institu- in the United States and other countries. tions worldwide that currently use IBM Other company, product or service names may be DB2 ® Universal Database™ will be trademarks or service marks of others. eager to utilize our grid functionality This case study is an example of how one IBM Business Partner and its customers use IBM products. in the form of a DB2 Extender™,” he There is no guarantee of comparable results. says. “We look forward to leveraging References in this publication to IBM products all the opportunities that IBM’s global or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. marketing power and information management leadership have opened to us.”