space exploration? There's a private cloud for that…

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Space is big, really big – and analyzing the universe puts the European Space Agency (ESA) technology infrastructure under cosmic pressure. Fresh space research projects, massive data sets, mission support and operations pose continuous demands on ESA, where 2,200 staff operate at eight sites across Europe.

big demands

There’s a big demand for fast and effective tech provisioning across the organization. “[We] are the gateway to space for Europe,” said ESA CIO, Filippo Angelucci. “The computing power we need is humungous.”

To meet this need ESA sought to identify how to provision scientists with the computing power they needed as quickly as possible, accelerating traditional purchasing models, while maintaining the kind of high secrecy you’d expect from a global multi-government organization at the cutting edge of space exploration.

cloud services

The organization opted for esacloud, a private cloud under a managed service agreement with Orange Business. “The vision was to have the on-demand benefits of the classical cloud, but on ESA premises tailored to the ESA security policy,” said Jose Fernandez Balseiro, Lead IT architect, ESA.

Orange Private Cloud Solutions support industry standard high security, offering ISO 20000-1, ISO 27001 and ISAE 3402 certifications. ESA can also rely on its trusted partner to monitor for cyber-attacks on organizational infrastructure.

space exploration, not resource allocation

Benefits have been immediately felt. By externalizing and automating routine operational tasks to the cloud, ESA has been able to liberate staff resources to focus on its work, not its technology needs. This is enabling ESA researchers to focus on their work, rather than chasing up their tech provisioning requirements.

The result is a technology solution that is easy to deploy, robust, reliable, flexible and scalable on-demand. “You can set how much computing power, how much storage you want without having to go and procure equipment, it used to require many months, now you can have it in a matter of minutes,” says Angelucci. “The ESA cloud is a private cloud that allows our scientists to do rocket science rather than IT.”

predictable cost

Bringing these solutions in on budget was critical. “We needed a service that was easy to use with predictable costs,” said Balseiro. Orange’s pay as you go model and its ability to offer managed service support for predictable fees at the two mirrored data centers (Italy and Germany) in which ESA chose to host its cloud services were critical. The use of two cloud services hubs means that in the event one site fails the other can maintain operations, meeting ESA’s strict business continuity and disaster recovery needs.

“Orange is enabling our digital transformation, We are moving from a supplier role to a leadership role in the organization,” said Angelucci. “This solution is enabling our business to jump forward five years,” said Balseiro.

Want to find out more about how Orange Private Cloud Solutions can ignite your business growth? Take a look at our resources here, and if space exploration interests you, do explore the latest ESA images here.

Jon Evans

Jon Evans is highly experienced technology journalist and editor. He has been writing for a living since 1994. These days you might read his daily regular Computerworld AppleHolic and opinion columns. Jon is also technology editor for men’s interest magazine, Calibre Quarterly, and news editor for MacFormat magazine, which is the biggest UK Mac title. He's really interested in the impact of technology on the creative spark at the heart of the human experience. In 2010 he won an American Society of Business Publication Editors (Azbee) Award for his work at Computerworld.