20 Jan 2015 Milan - The European Space Agency (ESA) has developed an on-premise, private Cloud infrastructure that offers advanced IT services for the agency's user communities. The infrastructure partially uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and has proven to be flexible and reliable - critical for ESA's environment. After seeing exceptional results, ESA has finalized the implementation of a similar infrastructure for another data centre.
ESA's mission is to ensure that investments in space developments are used to benefit all European citizens. Its employees and service providers manage the IT infrastructure and services necessary for everyday corporate activities and offer advanced solutions to restricted groups of power users who need the highest levels of service availability. The Agency's IT department has to support users operating across Europe who need specific applications, which - along with their data - must be available at all times.
To meet these requirements, ESA decided to develop a private Cloud infrastructure, called ESA Cloud. This cloud infrastructure is based on VCE systems, on a blade x86 architecture, and is managed entirely by Orange Business Services. ESA chose Red Hat Enterprise Linux as one of the platforms supported in the ESA Cloud.
The ESA IT department hosts a variety of services and environments in the ESA Cloud, including:
The ESA team worked closely with Red Hat Consulting during the implementation and customization of the Red Hat operating system in the ESA project to ensure that all requirements were met. This phase was particularly important because these requirements dramatically differed from those of any other commercial organisations, and quite often, the scenarios arising during the project were absolutely new.
Complex virtual environments can now be provisioned within minutes directly by the end users as opposed to months, delivering true agility and allowing ESA to reach business and scientific targets earlier. Furthermore, creating a new infrastructure - modern, highly virtualized, and open standards-based - and deploying the ESA Cloud has allowed for simpler, more effective management of all services. The ESA IT team can now monitor computing resources consumed by its users in real time, enabling optimization of the available capacity and streamlining chargeback operations to internal customers.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is one of the operating systems of ESA's overall Cloud infrastructure. The services offered are usually made to support specific projects, which require an intense use of resources for a limited amount of time. For ESA, it is critical to provide the resources required by these users, at the exact moment in which they need them, and the new private Cloud platform enables them to do just that.
ESA's Cloud project is not over yet. While the Frascati site has already gone into production, a similar site has been completed in Darmstadt, Germany. The new site delivers analogous services and allows geographic disaster recovery to overcome any possible large-scale calamity. ESA is also working to increase the number of services available in the Cloud to its users.
José Fernandez Balseiro, technical officer and project manager for the ESA Private Cloud, stated: "Because of the very unique type of services and applications we have, regulated by rigorous and precise SLAs, technology is absolutely critical to us and we cannot compromise on it in any way. In order to reach the highest levels of flexibility, the IT department decided to deploy a private cloud. We can say that the Red Hat platform has been an important element in contributing to create our own private cloud, which is crucial for our business and which enables us to offer the most advanced and reliable services for our technical and scientific users."
Gianni Anguilletti, country manager, Italy, Red Hat, stated: "The European Space Agency has a very unique set of requirements, which are difficult to be matched by any other organisation in the world. Specifically, the technology platforms they choose need to be highly reliable and flexible, as well as consistently delivering excellent performance. The choice made by ESA highlights once again that Red Hat solutions can be a cornerstone of the most critical infrastructures of the market."