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Astronomers’ tools

5 years ago, on December 19, 2013, the ESA launched an orbital telescope called Gaia. Learn more about the Gaia mission on the official website of the European Space Agency or in the article by Vitaly Egorov (Billion pixels for a billion stars).

However, few people know what technology the agency chose for storing and processing the data collected by Gaia. Two years before the launch, in 2011, the developers were considering a number of candidates (see “Astrostatistics and Data Mining” by Luis Manuel Sarro, Laurent Eyer, William O’Mullane, Joris De Ridder, pp. 111-112):

Comparing the technologies side-by-side produced the following results (source):

TechnologyTime
DB213min55s
PostgreSQL 814min50s
PostgreSQL 96min50s
Hadoop3min37s
Cassandra3min37s
Caché2min25s

The first four will probably sound familiar even to schoolchildren. But what is Caché XEP?

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