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News: Cloud marketplace for world’s researchers backed by European service providers

Mon 12 May 2014

Researchers around the globe will soon have a focused cloud marketplace where they can select and buy a range of services that are designed to work seamlessly together and be compliant with EU regulations and legislation.

Called the Helix Nebula Marketplace (HNX) it has grown out of projects funded by the European Commission and led by CERN. It is supported by European cloud service providers, Atos (through its cloud business Canopy), CGI, CloudSigma, EGI, Interoute, SixSq, The Server Labs and T-Systems. It is scheduled to begin operations in May 2014.

According to a public statement the marketplace “builds on Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud Initiative, a pioneering partnership between big science and big business in Europe fostered by the European Commission and its Digital Agenda that charts the course towards the sustainable provision of cloud computing for science.”

The service providers say they are “determined to build on from an initial series of operational offerings to extend HNX with Information-as-a-Service offerings, making open research data and algorithms from various research and technology projects and organisations available to the public in a pre-configured processing environment. Eventually, HNX will lead to a Digital Energy Marketplace, where users will have easy access to a wide range of services including digital infrastructure, tools, information and applications.”

HNX will use broker technology that has been used in the Helix Nebula Initiative for the last two years and tested with flagship applications from CERN, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the European Space Agency.

Industry analyst Ben Kepes said in his column in Forbes that while he was sceptical of moves like the recent IBM marketplace which just amass products this was more positive. “When I hear of marketplaces set up to meet the needs of specialist customers, things get more interesting.”

He added: “The Helix marketplace makes sense and continues on from the large-scale research programs that Europe has been executing in recent years, most notably the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. While cloud marketplaces as a class I can take or leave – such a highly specific marketplace with obvious value to its users makes sense – it will be interesting to see what sort of science comes out of the Helix Nebula Initiative.”

Helix Nebula and the Marketplace will be shown off at the Helix Nebula Public Event, at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland on 14 May 2014.


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