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Helix Nebula – The Science Cloud

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HNSciCloud (Helix Nebula – The Science Cloud)

Période du rapport: 2018-01-01 au 2018-12-31

Driven by the commitment of leading research organisations from across Europe, HNSciCloud aims to create a competitive marketplace of innovative cloud services serving the European Research Area. Stimulated by the Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) commitment of 10 leading European research organisations based in 7 different countries, HNSciCloud pulls together commercial cloud service providers, publicly funded e-Infrastructures and the buyers’ in-house resources to build a hybrid cloud platform on top of which a competitive marketplace of European cloud players can develop their own services for a wider range of users. This 30-month project brings Europe’s technical development, policy and procurement activities together to remove fragmentation and maximise exploitation. The alignment of commercial and public (regional, national, and European) strategies will increase the rate of innovation. Through a competitive series of design, prototype and pilot steps, HNSciCloud will contract suppliers to deliver a 5% scale deployment of a hybrid cloud platform that can address the extreme needs of world class scientific research, including:

- Catalogue of secure and interoperable services from multiple suppliers that have successfully passed an international recognised certification process
- Agile procurement process suitable for the dynamic cloud services market and tailored to the needs of the public research sector
- Development of monitoring frameworks to ensure compliance with international security and interoperability standards, performance criteria and financial benchmarking against global market leaders.
The HNSciCloud project has achieved all of its objectives for the period.
All of the deliverables projected for period 1 have been produced, actively promoted by the consortium members and well received by their respective audiences.
The project has published the tender documents on-time, and made the results available via the HNSciCloud online platform. The tender documents produced, in addition to the set of deliverables, have been stored in the project open access repository in Zenodo.
The tender evaluation process has completed and the award decision has been made. The tender documents were downloaded more than 220 times and a significant number of bids were submitted. Approximately 30 international companies, SMEs and public research organisations from 13 countries submitted bids. Four consortia have been awarded contracts; T- Systems, IBM, RHEA group and INDRA Systems. All four contractors successfully completed the phase.
In a call-off for the prototype phase, IBM ,RHEA and T-Systems were awarded contracts to implement their designs as prototypes. These prototypes were tested by the buyers group and successfully assessed.
The cloud platform will combine several sub-challenges requiring a combination of services at the IaaS level integrated into an environment supporting the full life-cycle of science work-flows. This PCP is developing a set of requirements for cloud services addressing the needs of procurers that serve multiple data-intensive research communities.

The R&D services will need to be integrated with resources in data centres operated by the buyers group and with European-scale publicly funded e-Infrastructures using open source solutions to build a hybrid platform on which a competitive marketplace of European cloud players can develop their own services for a wider range of users, beyond research and science. The major target user groups that will be addressed are High Energy Physics, Astronomy, Life Sciences, Photon/Neutron Sciences and Long Tail of Science.

The resulting common platform will be evaluated by end-users and exploited as the incubator for new businesses and scientific activities engaging a growing number of buyers, suppliers, and users.
The HNSciCloud PCP is also being used as a vehicle to explore the opportunities for joint, cross-border procurement with the ERICs, namely BBMRI, DARIAH, EPOS and LifeWatch in the context of the EGI-Engage project.