National Data Centre Launched For Researchers

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Data centre, servers © Dario Lo Presti Shutterstock 2012

The UK launches a data centre tailored especially for academic and medical research communities

A new data centre has been established in the UK to service the research need of the scientific and academic community.

The new data centre for the higher education IT consortium Jisc has been funded with £900,000 from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Academic HPC

The idea behind the new data centre is to provide a high-performance computing (HPC) service at a reasonable price for a number of institutions in the UK. The new Jisc data centre will be operated and managed by Infinity at its flagship Slough data centre in the UK.

It will initially serve six scientific and academic organisations under a five year agreement, but it is hoped that the consortium will grow as “other institutions accept the importance of a shared data centre and the benefits of information technology clustering as integral to future UK research.”

data centre power dcim electricity pue © watcharakun ShutterstockThe initial partners in the project are University College London, Kings College London, the Sanger Institute, the Francis Crick Institute, the London School of Economics and Political Science and Queen Mary University of London.

The data centre will apparently be connected to Jisc’s Janet network, in an effort to reduce costs and facilitate access, as well as meeting the necessary bandwidth requirements.

“I am delighted that HEFCE funding through the University Modernisation Fund has opened up high-performance computing at a reasonable price, meeting the university requirement for such leading-edge facilities and addressing the Government’s key objective of improving research,’ said HEFCE Director David Sweeney.

“By having the shared data centre users can access off-site data storage and services,” said Tim Marshall, executive director Jisc technologies and CEO Janet. “This world-leading facility will mean that users can consolidate their sensitive data in one safe environment and increase collaboration, whilst saving money both in terms of their operational costs and by not having to repeatedly procure facilities.”

The design of the national data centre will combine a traditional three tier data centre, with a flexible range of low to high power rack densities. It is envisaged that the new Jisc data centre will grow to more than 800 racks’ capacity.

Last October, a £30 million overhaul of the UK’s higher education computing network Janet was completed.

Dubbed Janet 6, it has 10 times the capacity of the previous system and aims to satisfy the demand of UK universities and scientific institutions until 2022.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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