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CERN unveils French data centre to support Large Hadron Collider

Written by Tue 27 Feb 2024

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, commonly known as CERN, has unveiled a new data centre on its Prévessin site in France to support the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The new facility spans 6000sqm and includes six rooms of IT equipment with a cooling capacity of 2MW each. The facility’s IT rooms will be equipped with up to 78 racks each. Starting from the top-floor rooms, they are expected to be fully equipped over the next ten years.

The centre will host CPU servers for physics data processing alongside a small number of CPU servers and storage capacity for business continuity and disaster recovery. CERN’s main data centre on the Meyrin site in Switzerland will continue to house the majority of the organisation’s data storage capacity.

The need for the new Prévessin data centre is primarily driven by the increasing rate of data production from experiments conducted at the LHC. This data centre will play a vital role in providing additional computing capacity to CERN.

The experiments at the LHC generate a massive amount of data currently at around 45 petabytes per week. This volume is expected to double with the implementation of the High-Luminosity LHC.

The data generated by LHC experiments is processed and stored in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), a global collaboration involving around 170 data centres across more than 40 countries. The current storage capacity of the WLCG is about 3 exabytes, with one million CPU cores distributed across the network.

The Meyrin data centre has been fulfilling the Tier 0 role and functioning as the core for the LHC Computing Grid. 

CERN said the Prévessin data centre aims for a Power Usage Effectiveness of 1.1, which is lower than the global average of 1.6. The new facility also aims for a Water Usage Effectiveness target of 0.379 litres per kWh, achieved through an unspecified water recycling system.

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Written by Tue 27 Feb 2024

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