University of Lancaster

The experimental Particle Physics Group at Lancaster University chose DataCentred to host a share of its CERN ATLAS data because of our UK-based OpenStack cloud. However, it is our technical support that has most impressed the group – read why here.

University of Lancaster

Lancaster University’s Experimental Particle Physics Group, uses DataCentred cloud compute for a share of the group’s ATLAS data

The customer

Peter Love, Senior Research Fellow at Lancaster University, is part of the Experimental Physics team which was instrumental in establishing the worldwide computing grid for work on data from the Large Hadron Collider experiments in CERN.

The challenge

Here in the UK, the group started looking into what cloud computing could offer its operations as early as 2012. CERN has one of the biggest deployments of OpenStack in the world, so DataCentred’s UK-owned and UK-operated OpenStack cloud was of great interest to Peter: “Cloud looked attractive and we wanted to investigate whether it would deliver the promised benefits of flexibility, elasticity and cost savings.”

The solution

“Our main criteria for selecting a commercial partner was a willingness to collaborate with us,” says Peter. DataCentred’s membership of the Helix Nebular Group and North-West location were attractive but it was the DataCentred team’s technical knowledge and good communication which convinced Peter.

“It isn’t easy to stand OpenStack up, and at first there was a lot of learning for us, but because of DataCentred’s technical expertise any issues were quickly dealt with. Our research partners at Imperial and Oxford are deploying OpenStack internally and DataCentred’s technical experience with OpenStack has helped us share knowledge with these other UK institutions.”

The technology

  • Burstable compute capacity
  • OpenStack integration with ATLAS production tools
  • Full suite of OpenStack APIs
  • Peering with Janet, the UK’s Research and Education

The benefits

Peter says he has genuine praise for everyone at DataCentred: “Having a UK-based OpenStack cloud is ideal. Our experience has been totally positive with DataCentred. They are very technically knowledgeable. They are enthusiastic about working with us. They are full of good ideas about how we can work better. They are responsive – being so responsive is a key part; the communication is quick, even out of hours. The stability of the DataCentred platform is a breath of fresh air – it just keeps on going.”


“The advantages of cost and flexibility are very compelling.”

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