ALMA is based in an incredibly remote part of Chile, high up in the mountains, with unique landscape and topography. The team at the nearby support station got together with NTT to find the best ways to support further scientific discoveries.Read The Case Study
"We’re making a huge effort to unveil the mystery of the universe, and you’ll never know what you might find."
— Cristóbel Achermann, IT Project Manager, ALMA
The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) is one of the most powerful astronomical instruments in the world. However, to be effective, it must be placed in an area with zero light pollution with a high enough altitude for the air to be as thin as possible. The site is 5,000m above sea level and faces incredibly harsh winters and terrifying storms in the summer, meaning it is challenging for workers to remain permanently. For these reasons, a small team is based 30km away at an Operations Support Facility.
The two facilities need a stable ultra-fast internet connection to communicate, with enough storage to stockpile the hundreds of terabytes of data they obtain yearly. This information is unique and making sure that it is safe is a necessity. With such a small IT team, the staff did not have the human resources to manage a large enough network to fit their needs. By working with NTT, ALMA introduced a virtualization solution with virtual routing and LAN capabilities, which provides a fully managed service.
Implementing this infrastructure makes sure that data is available between the two main stations 24/7, allowing teams to have complete control and access to the information they need from the remote station. The scientists working with the invaluable data can safely update and store it according to their needs. As the data is digitized, it can be easily shared globally, providing an irreplaceable data source for global scientists. Finally, the virtual nature of the network meant that it could survive harsh environments and weather. With a solid existing partnership spanning seven years, ALMA continues to work with NTT to plan for the future and exploring the great unknown together.