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Europe’s Leading Public-Private Partnership for Cloud

The Helix Nebula Initiative is a partnership between industry, space and science to establish a dynamic ecosystem, benefiting from open cloud services for the seamless integration of science into a business environment. Today, the partnership counts over 40 public and private partners.

Helix Nebula @ IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), 4 October 2013, Brest, France

CERN, Atos and ESA presented HN to IFREMER, on the 4th of  October 2013 in Brest, France.

On 4 October 2013 was held a workshop  between Ifremer, Helix Nebula, Atos and Mercator at the Ifremer headquarters in Brest, western France. Helix Nebula was represented by Maryline Lengert of ESA, Bob Jones of CERN and Mick Symonds of Atos. The workshop was also attended by around 20 people from Ifremer, which is the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (see

 The presentations on Helix Nebula, based on our standard presentation material, addressed both the initiative as a whole and in particular the need for large-scale data management; Helix Nebula explained its outline strategy and what had been done to date. A particular emphasis was made on the large-scale data storage and management required for many scientific purposes. The proposed business models, of both Infrastructure and Information as a Service, were positioned in the context of Big Data. Parallels were drawn with other related institutions, such as ESA and ECMWF, who have similar requirements to Ifremer, and the synergies that could potentially arise between them.

 Atos and Mercator explained a system they had developed for extracting scientific data residing elsewhere, for analytic purposes, via a Hadoop agent.

Ifremer explained their data management needs for a new mission, which would be producing a PB of data per year. There are needs for both fast, direct access and long-term archiving. As with many other such use cases, the potential accessing users do not have their own funding, and are dependent on funding agencies and bound by procurement rules.

 Following the presentations, there was a lively discussion session, which centred on two aspects:

- the viability of cloud for large-scale data storage, given the prohibitive small-scale retail rates of most cloud providers versus the purchase of storage equipment;

- that many publicly-funded institutes lack the organization structures and culture to effectively manage relationships with external service providers.

Further discussions are expected to ensue in the future, and use of a test environment was proposed when Helix Nebula is ready to deliver it.



Helix Nebula is a new, pioneering partnership between leading IT providers and four of Europe’s biggest research centres, CERN, EMBL, ESA and PIC, charting a course towards sustainable cloud services for the research communities - the Science Cloud.