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February 3, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:38pm

Virtus enters Jisc’s education & research data centre scheme

News: University of the Arts London, Institute of Cancer Research, and GÉANT also join the scheme.

By Joao Lima

The first national shared data centre for research and education has today added three more members and expanded its hosting services.

Run by digital services and solutions organisation Jisc, the hub is now also being used by University of the Arts London, Institute of Cancer Research, and GÉANThe .

The three new members join 12 others which include the University College London, Francis Crick Institute, King’s College London, London School of Economics, The Sanger Institute, Imperial College London, Brunel University, The Higher Education Funding Council for England, Queen Mary University, University of Surrey, and Liverpool City College.

At the same time, Jisc has teamed up with colo VIRTUS Data Centre to bulk up data centre services and offer the 15 institutions a more resilient platform. The enhanced platform will help increase collaboration for research projects, and improve efficiency across core IT.

The data centre used is VIRTUS’ LONDON4 based in Slough. The hub was acquired from colo Infinity last December and boasts 9,500 sqm of net technical space, 34MW and has a PUE of 1.25.

The shared data centre agreement offered by Jisc is the first of its type for UK education and research. It is specifically designed to allow universities and colleges to leverage data centre services and support them to be more efficient and effective, while increasing collaborations that push the boundaries of research.

LONDON4 is now also connected to Jisc’s Janet network, a high capacity network for education and research, allowing researchers to use connectivity between data storage and high performance computing facilities, both nationally and globally.

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Jeremy Sharp, director of strategic technologies at Jisc says, "Our framework with VIRTUS provides education and research organisations with access to world-class data centre facilities, where they can consolidate their data in a flexible, secure environment, and more readily collaborate with partners to boost innovations."

Kelly Scott, account director for education at VIRTUS Data Centres, said: "When VIRTUS purchased LONDON4, one of the main factors was the ability to offer the same high quality operational model to new education and research customers.

"These new customers will benefit from our brand of efficient, flexible, connected data centre solutions. We are excited to see how we can continue to work with Jisc to build on the success of the shared data centre so far."

In December 2015, Jisc bided for a second site to be deployed in Northern England. The company expects the facility to be available by June 30, 2016, and the first contract will run through to June 29, 2021.

Anchor tenants already lined up for the data centre include the University of Liverpool, the University of Leeds, the N8 Research Partnership, the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Hallam University.

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