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I'm doing my very first Lua program, so go easy on me please. :-)

Thought I'd ask some advice from the Gurus before I shoot my self in my
foot in my naivete.

I have a data logging system that gives me the time as the number of seconds since Jan/1/2000, then 17 one byte Analog to Digital converter values.  These values get scaled differently, but I already have working Lua code that handles that ok (I call one of 17 functions from a table that is an array of functions, as the data comes in).

My question is what is the most effective way to build a data base, for fast access?  It will be write once, read many.

When extracting the data I will be giving a start and end time, and a
channel number.

Because the data is sampled every three seconds for several days, this data base could get large fast.  However I'm more interested in speed than disk space.  Tho I don't want have to take up all of the computer memory with the data file.

I was thinking of converting the time value to a string like:

YEAR:MONTH:DAY:SECONDS_FROM_MIDNIGHT as the key, then a channel number in array format, to get the values.

Is there a better way?

One of the other requirements is that I be able to delete the data, on a
day/date range bases.  Just put in NIL's?

Also what would be the best way to save/restore this file?