HPE announces $125M deal to power Edinburgh International Data Facility

Hewlett Packard Enterprise will deliver an end-to-end infrastructure with its high-performance computing and artificial intelligence solutions.

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced on Wednesday that it has struck a deal with the University of Edinburgh EPCC in Scotland to power the Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF). The deal has an expected value of more than $125 million over 10 years, according to a press release.

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HPE said it will deliver an end-to-end infrastructure featuring its high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, which will be powered by HPE Apollo Systems and HPE Superdome Flex Servers, along with HPE Ezmeral Container Platform software capabilities. 

"With the Edinburgh International Data Facility, we are combining computing and data resources to create a facility that will allow organizations to use data to innovate throughout their organizations," said Mark Parsons, director of EPCC at the University of Edinburgh, in the release. "HPE is uniquely positioned to provide the spectrum of infrastructure and services, as well as the flexibility that this project demands." 

The deal will help 1,000 public, private, and nonprofit organizations use R&D and other data-driven programs to develop products and services. The long-term vision is for Edinburgh to be known as a data capital of Europe, according to the release. 

What EIDF aims to accomplish

Once established as a hub for innovation, EIDF aims to enable R&D on initiatives associated with global issues including food production, climate change, space exploration, and genetically tailored healthcare.

EIDF will give researchers access to the high-performance computing and AI technologies with which they can apply analytics to modeling and simulation to increase the accuracy of results and efficiency of time-to-discovery, according to the release.

The hub will also help improve overall insights by enabling users to securely access shared datasets and analytics from both public and private sources. 

This initiative plays a significant role in the region's Data Drive Innovation (DDI) program, which incorporates greater collaboration between the public sector, industry, and academia. EIDF will power five DDI hub sites with critical infrastructure that meet complex, long-term project demands. 

The DDI project was also driven by the University of Edinburgh, alongside Heriot Watt University, with the mission of tackling societal and industrial challenges and offering benefits from the data economy, while also improving the data and digital skills of more than 100,000 people across the area. 

To support this program, HPE will deliver an end-to-end infrastructure in a single framework to facilitate collaborative, optimal experiences for all users, according to the release.

To address the  requirements of managing AI workloads and apps at scale, EIDF is using the HPE Ezmeral Container Platform running on HPE Apollo Systems that are specifically built to support high-performance computing, deep learning, and more data-intensive workloads. 

The platform will also run HPE Superdome Flex Servers to support applications that need a lot of in-memory processing. 

The HPE Ezmeral Container Platform offers native  Kubernetes support and unlocks self-service AI and machine learning applications for EIDF scientists. It also enables developers to standardize machine learning workflows and move AI deployments from a span of months to days with the HPE Ezmeral ML Ops solution, according to the release.

It will also include pre-integrated, consistent data storage in the HPE Ezmeral Data Fabric file system, optimized for high-performance and high-throughput advanced analytics. This capability will allow EIDF scientists to efficiently access necessary data in a secure and collaborative way.  

HPE will also offer the Cray ClusterStor E1000 system, which uses tailored software and hardware features to fulfill high-performance storage requirements. EIDF will gain 20 petabytes of storage with this system, which will be allocated to the regional data facility and used for critical COVID-19 research, according to the release.

Shipment and installation of the tech will begin immediately, with the first orders already happening. The agreement is for a single-source framework through 2030, and EIDF will be fully operational in fall of 2020. 

For more, check out HPE announces 5G Lab and demo of automated 5G network slice orchestration on TechRepublic. 

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