The power of the cloud:
faster, secure research
Mar 13, 2012
- "Helix Nebula" - major science and business project
- Cloud services and computing for research in Europe
- Pilot projects with CERN, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the European Space Agency (ESA)
It has now been decided to set up a science cloud in Europe. Besides T-Systems, another 14 companies and three large research institutes are involved in the major project, called "Helix Nebula - the Science Cloud".
With this initiative, research institutes want to streamline evaluations of experiments, for example, in searching for the Higgs boson, researching genetic information and monitoring natural disasters. For this research, enormous amounts of computer capacity are required in a short space of time. For financial reasons, however, many institutes cannot set up and operate a service of this kind for peak load in their own data centers on their own. With "Helix Nebula - the Science Cloud", a kind of European grid model for cloud computing now is to ensure that in the future science in Europe will always have enough computer capacity.
T-Systems will provide its German cloud data centers for this purpose, also in order to meet the high security requirements of the scientific institutes. As researchers in various projects process data that is as yet unpublished or is sensitive data under data protection law, they are subject to strict security guidelines. In addition, scientific work results in intellectual property and patents, which can later be of great economic importance. Therefore the data and know-how must also be protected against white-collar crime.
In addition to purely infrastructural services, Telekom's corporate customer arm also provides virtualization and process competence. This is necessary as researchers very often use self-written or very specific software. To begin with, these programs must be turned into cloud-capable applications by T-Systems developers. As a long-term service provider for large research institutes such as the German Aerospace Center or the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) (organization for plant and reactor safety), the IT service provider is familiar with scientific IT and TC environments.
The new science cloud will initially be tested with pilot projects in three research institutions. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will use computer capacity from the cloud in Switzerland in order to analyze data from the ATLAS experiment. Researchers in this project are searching for the Higgs boson, the elementary particle which has not yet been confirmed experimentally. To do so, they are using a ring-shaped particle accelerator which is over 26 km long. Previously, the world's largest research center in the area of particle physics only used public data centers for this.
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is developing a portal for cloud-supported analysis of the genetic information of higher organisms such as human beings. This will provide a fuller picture of evolution and genetic diversity on Earth. Applied research also benefits from the results, for example in the development of cancer therapies or for the development of new medication. The data quantities which arise in genome analysis are huge and often require several months for processing.
The enormous computer capacity and expertise required for this has presented research laboratories with a serious challenge until now. T-Systems will install the special analysis software of the EMBL scientists in its own cloud data center. In this way, it will be possible to carry out genome analyses within the shortest time possible and "on demand" in the future. The aim is eventually to provide this service for hospitals, whose doctors will then be able to tailor treatment on the basis of genome analyses at short notice.
In the third pilot project, the European Space Agency (ESA) is working with the National Research Council in Italy, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales in France and the Remote Sensing Technology Institute of the German Aerospace Center in creating a cloud infrastructure, which will allow scientists from around the world to better understand the phenomena of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies with over 129 million mobile customers, 34 million fixed-network lines and approximately 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2011). The Group provides products and services for the fixed network, mobile communications, the Internet and IPTV for consumers, and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in around 50 countries and has over 235,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 58.7 billion in the 2011 financial year - more than half of it outside Germany (as of December 31, 2011).
Drawing on a global infrastructure of data centers and networks, T-Systems operates information and communication technology (ICT) systems for multinational corporations and public sector institutions. On this basis, Deutsche Telekom's corporate customer arm provides integrated solutions for the networked future of business and society. Some 48,200 employees at T-Systems combine industry expertise with ICT innovations to add significant value to customers' core business all over the world. The corporate customers unit generated revenue of around EUR 9.2 billion in the 2011 financial year.
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