European research institutions band together for cloud platform

A group of European research organisations have combined for a common research platform

The cloud has just taken on a whole new dimension. A group of scientific heavyweights have banded together to launch a cloud computing platform. Helix Nebula – branded the science cloud – has been set up to support the large data requirements of European researchers.

Three organisations – CERN, EMBL and ESA – are hoping that the new platform will be able to handle data from its large-scale research projects - the search for the elusive Higgs particle, to boost large-scale genomic analyses in biomedical research, and support research into natural disasters.

The new cloud platform is being built by a variety of vendors including Atos, Capgemini. CloudSigma, Interoute, Logica, Orange Business Services, SAP, SixSq, Telefonica, Terradue, Thales, The Server Labs and T-Systems. The project, which is also being supported by the Cloud Security Alliance, the OpenNebula Project and the European Grid Infrastructure and will eventually be thrown open to use by government organisations and industry.

The cloud platform will help the organisations to cope with the large volumes of data being driven by the research projects. “CERN’s computing capacity needs to keep-up with the enormous amount of data coming from the Large Hadron Collider and we see Helix Nebula- the Science Cloud as a great way of working with industry to meet this challenge,” said Frédéric Hemmer, head of CERN’s IT department.

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