Re: [netcdfgroup] NetCDF external links

Dear Tim,
I think an extension to HDF5 is possible to include an URI where the
file can be fetched automatically when the file does not exist on the
local system, yet.
Additionally, some information to ensure consistency (e.g. checksum)
when trying to open an external file should probably be included in
the attributes (optionally).

I'm curious to understand the space (bandwidth) savings that you may
have using such a feature?
Could you quantify it (approximately)?

To another response:
I believe the one file semantics should go away (anyway) in the long
term to allow to query data that is scattered on multiple files. i.e.,
you open once multiple dataset  by changing the file name, the system
then shows all the variables as they would belong to this virtual
I consider this to be an intermediate step that offers transparent
access to such a collection when it has been defined a-priori.

Thanks for the feedback & regards,

> On 07/14/2016 09:32 AM, Timothy Patterson wrote:
>> We have a number of operational products based on fixed lat/lon grids that
>> we disseminate in near-real time.
>> The ability to be able to send the lat/lon grid once and link to it as a
>> coordinate variable from within the file would be very useful as it would
>> save considerably on bandwidth costs while still keeping the products
>> user-friendly.
>> So this would be a welcome development for our purposes.
>> Tim
>> _________________________________________________________________________________________
>> Dr. Tim Patterson
>> Instrument Data Simulation Expert
>> Product Engineering/Test Data Coordination
>> MTG Programme
>> GEO  Division
>> Eumetsat-Allee 1
>> 64295 Darmstadt
>> Germany
>> Tel: +49 6151 807 487
>> Fax: +49 6151 807 7
>> E-mail: timothy.patterson@xxxxxxxxxxxx
>> Web:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: netcdfgroup-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> [mailto:netcdfgroup-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Eugen Betke
>> Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 1:09 PM
>> To: netcdfgroup@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> Subject: [netcdfgroup] NetCDF external links
>> Dear NetCDF-Group,
>> we have been working on NetCDF external link functionality. This allows
>> NetCDF applications to create dimension variables which values are stored in
>> an external file. Therefore, it uses the HDF5 virtual dataset
>> (VDS) functionality. This is useful for, e.g., climate applications that
>> rely on a variable per file and timestep configuration. The idea is to store
>> the grid in a separate file and link our data to this grid. We already have
>> our first working version. You find the patch and the examples on our page:
>> Under the hood it uses HDF5 virtual datasets. VDS has the advantage of
>> being compatible to the functions that are supported by oridinary datasets.
>> Therefore, files containing VDS should be supported by the most software .
>> There is a minor issue related to HDF5, the call H5F_try_close function
>> fails, when ncdump trys to read data from an external dimension. So far we
>> found a workaround, but we will fix this issue.
>> It would be great if external link functionality could be supported by
>> netCDF at some timepoint. We would like to improve our patch and for that
>> reason we need your feedback. If you have some idea to the issue above, we
>> would be grateful for each hint.
>> Regards,
>> Eugen
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> --
> Eugen Betke
> Abteilung Forschung
> Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum GmbH (DKRZ)
> BundesstraÃe 45a â D-20146 Hamburg â Germany
> Phone:  +49 40 460094-146
> Fax: +49 40 460094-270
> E-mail: betke@xxxxxxx
> URL:
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