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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.

D5.4 Final Flagship Deployment Report

During May and September 2014 the Flagship Application Deployment activity was undertaken as part of the Helix Nebula initiative and was coordinated as part of the FP7 project activity.

During the deployments, the Flagship applications of CERN, ESA and EMBL were deployed on to the two Blue Box platforms created for the purposes of the initiative, one was open source solution (SlipStream) and the other a commercial solution (EnStratius).

All three flagship deployments are considered successful by the flagship application providers themselves, however a number of issues were identified during the deployments. These can be summarised as:

  • Large delays in blue box provisioning and cloud integration/configuration; the overall schedule slipped largely requiring significant effort
  • Level of blue box-cloud integration required far too much human intervention and direct interaction with cloud providers instead of programmatic access to their services
  • Deployment via the Blue Box was not stable using EC2 bridge; maturity is missing
  • Elasticity could not be experienced since significant amount of manual configuration was required
  • It is difficult to pay bills using the current set-up of blue box & supplier
  • Availability of sufficient cloud assets was not always granted


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.