European consortium to launch scientific cloud computing platform

02 March 2012 |

18 science and business organisations have formed a consortium to launch a European cloud computing platform.

The Helix Nebula initiative is expected to support the huge IT requirements of European scientists, and will become available to government organisations and the wider industry after an initial pilot phase.

The initiative is designed to develop a range of services to address European data privacy concerns. The platform widely complements the European Commission’s digital agenda outlined by commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The pilot phase will be two years in length and will involve deployment and testing on the European Large Hadron Collider project CERN, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

CERN will be given access to more computing power to process data for the international particle physics ATLAS experiment. EMBL will set up a service to simplify the analysis of large genomes and ESA is set to create an Earth observation platform focussing on earthquake and volcano research.

“CERN’s computing capacity needs to keepup 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 the industry to meet this challenge,” said Frédéric Hemmer, head of CERN’s IT department.

Commercial partners in the project include Atos, Capgemini, CloudSigma, Interoute, Logica, Orange Business Services, SAP, SixSq, Telefónica, Terradue, Thales, The Server Labs and T Systems, along with the Cloud Security Alliance.

Helix Nebula says it is open to participation from other scientific organisations and service providers in the future.