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CERN inaugurates data center extension in Budapest

CERN and the Wigner Research Centre for Physics last week inaugurated the Hungarian data center in Budapest, marking the completion of the facility hosting the extension for CERN computing resources. About 500 servers, 20,000 computing cores, and 5.5 petabytes of storage are already operational at the site. The dedicated and redundant 100 gigabit/s circuits connecting the two sites are functional since February 2013 and are among the first transnational links at this distance. The capacity at Wigner will be remotely managed from CERN, substantially extending the capabilities of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) Tier-0 activities and bolstering CERN’s infrastructure business continuity.

WLCG’s mission is to provide global computing resources to store, distribute and analyse more than 25 petabytes of data annually generated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It is a global system organised in tiers, with the central hub being the Tier-0 at CERN. The LHC data are aggregated in the Tier-0, where initial data reconstruction is performed, and a copy is archived to long-term tape storage. The Tier-0 then sends out data to each of the 11 major data centers around the world that form the first level, or Tier-1, via optical-fibre links working at multiples of 10 gigabit/s. Smaller Tier-2 and Tier-3 centres linked over the internet bring the total number of computer centers involved to over 140 in about 40 countries. WLCG serves a global community of 8,000 scientists working on LHC experiments, allowing them to access distributed computing and data storage facilities seamlessly. Every day WLCG processes more than 1.5 million ‘jobs’, which is equivalent to a single computer running for more than 600 years. High-performance distributed computing enabled physicists to announce on 4 July the discovery of a new particle, which was later on confirmed as being a Higgs boson.

“The experiments’ computing resources needs will increase significantly when the LHC restarts in 2015. Hosting computing equipment at the Wigner Centre to extend CERN’s data center Tier-0 capabilities is essential for dealing with this expected increase, and to the success of our physics programme. The remote capacity will also contribute to business continuity for the critical systems in case of a major issue on CERN’s site” says CERN director-general Rolf Heuer. “A number of sciences currently face exponential data growth. This innovative approach with Wigner could point the way for research centers to run their services in the future.”

The CERN Tier-0 data center extension in Budapest adds up to 2.5 MW capacity to the 3.5 MW IT load of the Geneva data center, which has already reached its capacity limit. The contract with Wigner started in January 2013 and can carry on for up to seven years. The capacity in Budapest will gradually ramp-up following CERN’s needs. Operating remotely from CERN this capacity helps build knowledge, as well as create expertise and solutions with cloud computing to face big data challenges linked to exponential computing needs in all fields of research

“The opening of the Wigner Data Centre and the beginning of our IT collaboration is a small step for CERN but a big step for Hungary,” concludes Peter Levai, director-general of the Wigner Research Centre for Physics.

This article was first published on the CERN press site, here.

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