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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 - the Science Cloud Initiative - is a public-private partnership between Europe's leading scientific research organisations and European IT cloud providers. CERN contributed to this initiative by providing a flagship use case: the workloads from the ATLAS experiment. Aiming to gain experience in managing and monitoring large-scale deployments, as well as in benchmarking the cloud resources, a sizable Monte Carlo production was performed using the Helix Nebula platform.

Opening and closing statement at the European Parliament plenary in Strasburg.

On April 2015, CERN published the paper "Towards the Open European Science Cloud". The paper outlines the establishment of the European Open Science Cloud that will enable digital science by introducing IT as a Service to the public research sector in Europe.

A policy vision document by the Steering Board of the European Cloud Partnership.

The European Union, like most of the world, faces economically challenging times. In such times, it becomes all the more important to recognise and seize new and unique opportunities to drive growth, stimulate innovation, and to provide benefits to citizens, businesses and public administrations. One of these opportunities is cloud computing.

This document describes the context for and the outline content of the catalogue facility within the Helix Nebula Marketplace (HNX). It is intended both to provide orientation to HNX Suppliers as to what they could include and guidance to HNX Users as to what they should expect to find. The catalogue will evolve with use and this document is expected to evolve accordingly.

The last decade has seen a tremendous growth in e-infrastructure and related activity in a number of research communities as a result of funding by the European Commission in the 7th (and earlier) Framework Programmes and by corresponding national investments. Consequent to this investment in capacity, research communities are presented with several individually excellent, but independent – cross-layer initiatives which present researchers with sometimes inconsistent technical approaches and disjointed managerial structures to achieving a production quality infrastructure.

The project “Helix Nebula - the Science Cloud” will support the massive IT requirements of European scientists and aims to pave the way for the development and exploitation of a Cloud Computing Infrastructure, initially based on the needs of European IT-intense scientific research organisations, while also allowing the inclusion of other stakeholders’ needs (governments, businesses and citizens).

This document outlines the current knowledge of the Helix Nebula Supply-side regarding the need for a structured Service Architecture. It introduces why such an architecture is needed. Within the Helix Nebula consortium, there are further supporting documents: The equivalent to this Introduction, but with much more detailed content; A document describing the Service catalogue structure for HN; A document describing the operational organisation of HN.

Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud ‐ is the catalyst for major changes in the way the European research community uses IT services, including a self‐financing Public‐Private Partnership (PPP) for cloud services. It addresses a key strategic interest for the European economy; to ensure accessible, sustainable, competitive and secure infrastructure, not only for the scientific community but throughout industry and society.

This document captures the current knowledge of the Helix Nebula Supply-side regarding the need of a federated framework to simplify discovery, access, usage and management of a federated cloud system. Alongside this objective, we aim at providing an integration framework, where current and future suppliers (i.e. cloud service providers) can easily interface their system in order to attract and receive cloud workload.