Shifting to Software-Defined
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Cloud28+ group wins bid to develop design for European Hybrid Cloud Platform


Guest post: Paul Dawson, a senior HPE sales lead for European cloud customers. One of Paul's key goals is to drive innovative cloud solutions within European institutions.

Scientific research generates vast amounts of data.  From the petabytes produced by the Hadron Collider at CERN to pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes, this data needs processing efficiently to fulfil vital scientific and research goals. Over the coming years, the unprecedented growth of data created by scientific research domains will create enormous challenges for capturing, managing, and processing of this data.  

Europe is well aware of this colossal challenge and, having recognised that their individual in-house computing resources are not powerful enough to adequately manage their ongoing data needs, 10 of Europe’s leading public research organisations led by CERN – with co-funding from the European Commission – launched the Helix Nebula Science Cloud (HNSciCloud) Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP).


The goal of the HNSciCloud €5.3 million investment is to establish a European hybrid cloud platform that will support the high-performance, data-intensive scientific use-cases of these 10 procurers – power not currently available to them as individual entities. 

Beyond the initial needs of the procuring partners, the vision is to offer Europe’s 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment with open and seamless services to support the deployment of high-performance computing and big-data capabilities across borders and scientific disciplines free at the point of use. It’s not just these larger institutes that will benefit. Small labs have insufficient storage and processing power to perform the analysis they need to progress their research so this solution will benefit and progress scientific research as a whole.

The HNSciCloud vision is perfectly synchronised with the HPE-sponsored Cloud28+ platform’s driving ethos, which is to bring together Europe’s best cloud service providers to deliver comprehensive solutions to computing challenges. HPE, along with Indra, Advania and SixSq – all members of Cloud28+ – were one of four consortia successful in the bid to go through to the design stage of the Helix Nebula tender.

This perfectly demonstrates the potential of Cloud28+ partnerships. Bids were submitted from 28 multinational companies, small medium enterprises (SMEs) and public research organisations from 12 countries. The successful bid of our consortium is testament to the strength of the Cloud28+ community.

The new HNSciCloud platform must address the many challenges involved with providing a combination of services at the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) level, integrated with an environment that supports the full life cycles of diverse scientific workflows. The tender called for solutions for compute and storage, network connectivity, and Federated Identity Management and Service Payment Models:

Compute and Storage – support a range of virtual machines and container configurations to support researchers working with datasets in the petabyte range.

Network Connectivity and Federated Identity Management – provide high-end network capacity for the whole platform, with common identity and access management.

Service Payment Models - explore a range of purchasing options to determine the most appropriate ones for the scientific application workloads to be deployed.

Collaborating closely on the project, the team from HPE, Indra, Advania and SixSq have specified a solution that will enable the cloud platform to grow exponentially and serve stakeholders beyond the initial procurers, reaching out to the private sector to offer innovative services that unlock the potential of research data. The proposed solution comprises Advania’s data centres, HPE’s Helion OpenStack and SixSq’s cloud security layer, led and integrated by Indra.

This solution will be extended to include other Cloud28+ members as it goes through the prototype and pilot phases. This will enable the hybrid cloud platform to grow exponentially, which is key for the scientists who are at the heart of the Helix Nebula work. Also importantly, the Cloud will be hosted by European companies across Europe, and will be fully compliant with EU data privacy requirements.

Federated identity management will enable international teams of researchers and scientist within one research organisation to access and process data on servers from wherever they are. It will also enable researchers and scientists from a number of different organisations to access their data securely.

There are initially three technical challenges to overcome;

  • Federated Identity Management for up to 1.7m scientists
  • Ability to seamlessly manage data sets up to 1 Petabyte
  • Full integration into the Geant network to allow 100Gb/s connectivity speed

And the consortium will address this in the design phase.

The platform will initially serve scientists and engineers working in high-energy physics, astronomy, the life sciences including biomedical research, and the photon/neutron science, in which the 10 procurers operate. During the pilot phase, the hybrid cloud platform will provide on-demand and elastic services to geographically distributed users. This will include access to data produced by research organisations and hosted on the platform.

Commenting on the winning bids, HNSciCloud stated that innovation is the common denominator of all the winning consortia. Each consortium will now start working in parallel on the design of the future hybrid cloud platform. The results of the design phase will again be part of a competitive tender, of which only the three most convincing design studies will go to the next phase: Solution Prototyping.

HPE and the other members of the Cloud28+ consortia are proud and excited to be part of an initiative that will progress scientific research, open up new possibilities for economic growth and contribute to the establishment of the European Cloud Initiative.

Cloud28+ is focused on building the most relevant cloud community in Europe, a collection of a 330+ leading cloud partners with over 1,300 approved services working together to make an impact on in-market cloud adoption. 

0 Kudos
About the Author


I manage communications and enablement activities for Cloud28+. Previously, I was the marketing communications manager for HPE's Hybrid IT group in EMEA. I have a keen interest in community-driven technology innovation. Follow me at @AndreaGarcia31