Northern Powerhouse secures
its 1st shared datacentre for Higher Education
IN a regional 1st, the North's major Universities have signed
a deal to ensure 21st century digital infrastructure is available to education
and medical research. The shared datacentre, procured by Jisc and delivered by
aql®, provides a cost effective solution for UK research and education through
the provision of secure housing of digital systems and services. In a world
where 'big data' is becoming the norm, being able to support the provision of
huge processing needs, opens doors to a number of significant benefits.
For Universities collaborating on core areas, such as medical research, large
data sets need to be shared, and at speed; this is where a shared datacentre
comes into its own. Through outsourcing of High Performance Computing (HPC)
facility, Jisc members can benefit from specialist skills and emerging trends in
big data management, leveraging the extensive capabilities of the Janet network.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said:- "Improving digital
infrastructure will help equip businesses and Universities of the Northern
Powerhouse with the building blocks they need to grow and compete effectively in
the global market."
Among the first Higher Education institutes (HEIs) signing up to the service are
Liverpool University, Sheffield Hallam University and the Universities of
Sheffield and Leeds.
Dr Barry Haynes, Head of Infrastructure Architecture at the University of Leeds
said:- "The successful delivery of the northern datacentre is a key
element supporting the University of Leeds Data Centre Strategy to invest in a
fit for purpose, modern solution to host and manage the University's data and
applications. As datasets and collaborations increase, access to flexible cloud
and hosted services have become essential to the delivery of IT services. This
investment will help us realise valuable operational benefits and provide a
resilient and well connected hosting facility".
aql®'s secure, carrier neutral datacentres, with direct access to the Janet
network will support the UK academic community's need for high performance IT
infrastructure, not only for research, but also for critical operational
infrastructure such as back office systems and IP telephony.
The facilities are designed with high performance computing in mind, including
highly reinforced floors, high cooling and power capability, strong security
measures, and specialist installation equipment.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and Founder of aql® stated:- "As a Northern
Powerhouse partner, providing this significant infrastructure for big data
research is a great achievement for aql and for Leeds. We have a strong track
record in providing secure datacentre services. We're keen to ensure that we
support the research industry with the security measures and expertise to allow
them to leverage the power of their data fully."
aql® already hosts the main high capacity Northern access point into Jisc's
Janet network, giving national and international access to the academic
community. This network also has a direct connection into IXLeeds; the Northern
Internet Exchange; which provides an opportunity for high capacity access
between the Janet network and other commercial networks and key healthcare data
stakeholders such as EMIS, making this ideal for supporting public private big
data research projects.
Jeremy Sharp, Director of Strategic Technologies at Jisc said:- 'We are
very pleased to be able to give our members access to this first-rate shared
data centre, and to pass on the cost savings by centrally procuring this service
on their behalf. The northern data centre is one of two shared datacentres Jisc
facilitate for UK HEIs and the scalability of service they provide means they
are as cost-effective as they are efficient."
aql data centres provide world class security and power, ideal for intensive
applications to support the academic community's key role in the Northern