The Hansen Experimental Physics Lab (HEPL) at Stanford University is
developing the Joint Science Operations Center (JSOC) to support two
key instruments on the upcoming NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
mission. Launch of SDO is expected within the next 18 months and may
be as soon as 6 months. The JSOC team has implemented a data management
system based on the PostgreSQL database system to support management of
an expected flow of several hundred million records per year. The JSOC
system comprises a Database Record Management System (DRMS) containing
image metadata and a Storage Unit Management System (SUMS) containing
up to 1 PB/year of solar image data. DRMS, in turn, comprises a C
"wrapper" library that interfaces with a PostgreSQL server and database.
The library communicates with the server via libpq function calls.
C and FORTRAN "modules" making use of the services provided by the
DRMS library store and retrieve data from the PostgreSQL database and
from SUMS via file pointers stored in the database. Finally, scripts
of various languages run these modules by submitting batch jobs to a
queuing system that operates on a data cluster.
For the final development stage prior to the launch of SDO the JSOC team
seeks a consultant/contractor who can who can perform a variety of PostgreSQL
design and DBA tasks; the level of effort is expected to be variable as
needed with the primary effort near the beginning and a supporting role
for up to a year. The successful candidate will be fluent in PostgreSQL
backup, recovery, software installation and update/upgrade, performance,
and security. She or he will have thorough knowledge of the tools available
to perform such PSQL administrative tasks. A very good understanding
of database design principles and how they can be used to enhance an
existing database configuration is highly desirable. The candidate must
have experience configuring hardware/software, and PostgreSQL server
and clients so that the database performs optimally in our environment.
The JSOC team makes use of various technologies to duplicate database
information. It uses Slony-I, combined with administrative scripts,
to replicate database information to offsite locations. And it uses
Unix snapshots and log shipping of write-ahead-logs to make regular
database checkpoints and maintain standby machines. The successful
candidate must be knowledgeable with these and related technologies,
and must be capable of designing and implementing such backup, recovery,
and transfer procedures. The candidate should also be well-versed
in associated tasks, such as managing fail over between standbys and
database vacuuming, in the face of continual user queries.
The JSOC Database Developer will assist in the identification of
performance bottlenecks. This includes analysis of table design/relations
and database configuration. But it also includes tracking down errant
queries to specific processes. As most SQL queries of the PostgreSQL
databases will be generated by the DRMS library (C code), knowledge of C
and ability to rapidly master the JSOC interface between C and PostgreSQL
is also essential.
As the team works exclusively in Unix environments (mostly Linux), the
successful candidate will be a competent Unix user, and fluent with C,
shell scripting, Perl scripting, etc.
The JSOC Database Developer will document operating procedures and plans.
The JSOC Database Developer will also train other staff members in the
maintenance and troubleshooting of the functioning system. Accordingly,
effective communication skills are a must, including communication of
topics of a technical nature.
* MS Degree or equivalent experience in Computer Science or related field.
* 3+ years experience working with PostgreSQL including Slony-I experience
* 3+ years experience administering databases
* Proficiency in SQL programming, and some experience with PL/pgSQL.
* Experience with PostgreSQL's libpq is highly desirable.
* 3+ years experience with C programming in a UNIX/Linux environment.
* Proficiency with shell scripting languages and Perl.
* Ability to come up to speed on a fairly mature database configuration in
a timely manner.
* Strong technical and troubleshooting skills.
* Ability to work independently.
Please email your resume to pscherrer(at)solar(dot)stanford(dot)edu
Philip H. Scherrer
Professor of Physics, Stanford University
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