£900,000 high-performance computing data centre for research and education launched

Will benefit from Janet

A national data centre is being created in Slough to provide cost-effective high-performing computing (HPC) facilities to a consortium of educational, medical and academic research institutions.

Funded with £900,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), it will be provided by data centre specialist Infinity, which has entered into a five-year agreement with public education body Jisc to use its high-speed Janet education and research network.

The data centre, which launches in September, will provide access to off-site data storage and services while reducing costs and meeting the bandwidth requirements of large datasets.

According to Jisc, its design combines a traditional three tier datacentre with a range of low-to-high power rack densities and will provide organisations with a discounted pricing structure allowing them to squeeze the most value out of the service. It will host more than 800 racks of capacity to improve the speed and quality of UK research.

Jisc claims that it's the first large scale example of HPC environments being placed in an outsourced co-location facility.

Cloud calling

Tim Marshall, executive director at Jisc and CEO, Janet, said: "As space becomes premium on campus this is a significant step on the journey to the cloud and already indications are that this will be a major breakthrough for the UK education and research community."

The initial Jisc partners are: University College London (UCL), Kings College London, The Sanger Institute, The Francis Crick Institute, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The consortium expects that the number of customers will grow over time as the number of institutions begins to recognise the importance of a shared data centre and the benefits of shared IT services to future research.