I work with infrared spectrometers (several hundred of them) to analyze chemical compounds, and I am looking for an efficient solution to store the measured data so that I can process it later on.

Each time a spectrum is measured by a spectrometer, it gives me what I call an “acquisition”.

An acquisition is made of the following data:

  • The spectrometer ID (array of max. 15 characters);
  • ID of the measured chemical compound (array of characters)
  • Date and time of the measurement (as an array of characters e.g. 2023-05-19 13:24:00) ;
  • Internal temperatures, voltages, etc… measured by the spectrometer (about 20 measurements) ;
  • A vector with the 500 wavelengths we wanted to measure
    • Example : 2001, 2002, …, 2499, 2500
  • A vector with the 500 wavelengths which were actually measured
    • Example : 2000.9456, 2002.5498, …, 2499.7648, 2500.0195
  • A vector with 500 values of light intensities measured by the spectrometer (one value per wavelength)
    • Example : 11614.9756, 11611.9512, …, 16084.7073, 16127.7561
  • A vector with 500 values which represent the stability of each previous light intensity measurement
    • Example : 2.6314, 3.2165, …, 2.2051, 1.9872

Note that while the first vector of target wavelengths is constant, the other three vectors will never be the same from one acquisition to another.

All those data are saved as a .csv file, one acquisition = one csv file. The content of each .csv typically looks like that:

Spectrometer ID Product ID Date/time Temperature Voltage
S_A01_A023 Ethanol 2023-05-19 13:24:00 23.4 °C 35.8912 V
2001 2002 2499 2500
2000.9456 2002.5498 2499.7648 2500.0195
11614.9756 11611.9512 16084.7073 16127.7561
2.6314 3.2165 2.2051 1.9872

I already have about 6 millions of such acquisition files and this number will increase by about 1 million every month.

So far I only performed statistics on one spectrometer at a time and this is easily manageable with Matlab as I have at most 50k acquisition per spectrometer.

This is done by parsing the content of each .csv to a matlab structure and save it to a .mat file which is a few hundred megabytes at most. On my machine, loading the .mat file takes at most 5 seconds, which is acceptable.

However, I now want to perform some statistics on acquisitions coming from different case scenarios. One such scenario could be, for instance, to perform some calculations on every ethanol spectrum measured at a temperature above 50°C between January and May 2023 and which measured light intensity at 2005 nm is below 6000.

In Matlab, this would mean loading a file where the 6+ million acquisitions are saved and discarding most of them to keep only the 2k samples that are of interest for the above test case.

This solution is not acceptable since retrieving the data would be inefficient and time-consuming. Moreover, many different scenarios will need to be tested every day.

Therefore, I am looking for the best solution to store my data and which could be interfaced with Matlab (or Python) to quickly extract the relevant data. It is important to note that this data needs to be accessible by multiple people, not just myself, and often two or three people will access the data simultaneously.

Note that all statistical computations will be performed with Matlab or Python.

I do not know much about data bases, data warehouses, SQL, Hadoop or other systems to store and access big quantities of data. However, I am willing to learn and I would be grateful if you could help me with this topic.

I hope that my explanations are clear enough. If not, do not hesitate to ask for clarification.

  • I suspect you need to hire an expert, to do it right. May 19, 2023 at 21:01
  • Why is that so? Is this so complicated to achieve ?
    – Xav59130
    May 20, 2023 at 13:36
  • The word is experience. You can do it yourself and redo it and adjust and redo it. Or you can get someone with experience. Depends on whether you have time or money. May 20, 2023 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


Look, this doesn't look so hard to do.

Because I see you are mainly working with open source stuff you can keep going and use MySQL, PostgreSQL or MariaDB.

But to facilitate your job I suggest you to give it a try to SQL Server : you can download the Express edition that could store up to 10Gb.

enter image description here

Or you can also use the Developer edition without limitations.

I like SQL Server because it comes with SSMS which is a GUI that allows you to manage data in a more graphical way.

You can also import CSV manually or in bulk.

And yes, you can also insert the CSVs through Python.


There are a number of array databases specifically designed to store an process scientific data.

While a relational system (Postures and cousins) will handle this structure and scale they are not optimised for it out of the box.

I have no professional experience with array DBs so can't suggest specifics to look for.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.