CERN Accelerating science

CERN project wins at EMEA Awards

Friday, 9 December, 2016

A submission from CERN was selected as the winner of the ‘Open Data Center Project’ category at the EMEA Awards. Now in their 10th year, the EMEA Awards are run by Datacenter Dynamics and recognise outstanding individuals, teams, and projects in a number of categories related to data centres.

The award was presented at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 7th December. The submission from the CERN team focuses on an investigation carried out into the feasibility of public procurement of Open Compute servers.  “We’re very pleased that our work has been recognised in this way,” says Olof Barring, an applied physicist in the CERN IT Department.

The Open Compute Project (OCP) was launched by Facebook in 2011 with the objective of building efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest possible cost. The technologies are released as open hardware, with the goal of developing servers and data centres following the model traditionally associated with open-source software projects.

After acquiring a few OCP servers in 2013, the CERN team carried out comparative testing of performance and power consumption. Following promising results in terms of potential cost savings, the team then carried out a larger scale procurement exercise in 2014-2015, with a primary objective of evaluating whether the OCP market is sufficiently mature and broad enough to meet the constraints of a public procurement. Read about their experience in this this conference paper:

“Since commissioning in late 2015, the OCP equipment has proven more reliable than standard servers and storage,” says Barring. “There are, however, a number of challenges that large public-funded research institutions are likely to face when it comes to procuring the hardware. We believe this investigation has proven highly valuable in terms of helping us to understand these challenges — as well as how they could potentially be overcome.”

The full list of winners is available on the DatacentreDynamics website, here.