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Pan-European Géant network gets €93m funding

Better management of Europe's research network will help particle physics, climate studies and medical research, claim the operators
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Written by Matthew Broersma on
The European Commission this week launched the third generation of the pan-European Géant network, which links research and educational institutions and handles tasks such as the vast amounts of data produced by the Large Hadron Collider.

Dante (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe), the non-profit organisation that built and maintains Géant, also announced Dante NOC, a new Cambridge-based network operations centre (NOC) that will be responsible for the management of the entire Géant network.

Dante NOC will also manage the Mediterranean-area EUMEDCONNECT2 network and the End-to-End Coordination Unit (E2ECU) for multi-domain circuits. These functions were previously outsourced, according to Dante general manager Dai Davies.

Dante made the announcements at a launch event in Stockholm on Tuesday.

The third generation of Géant is planned to operate until 2013 and has been awarded funding of €93m (£84m) from the European Commission, with a matching amount contributed by the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of individual European countries, including the UK's Janet.

The funding will be used to develop technologies and services to improve network efficiency and the user experience, Dante said. Services already supported by Géant include virtual private networks with reserved bandwidth capacity for specific project requirements, network performance monitoring tools and secure roaming and authorisation services.

The Géant project is also planning research into addressing the "digital divide" by making network access more available and affordable, according to Dante.

The Cambridge-based Dante NOC will employ 10 people and will focus on troubleshooting network problems and scheduling and managing planned maintenance and upgrades, according to Dante's Davies.

He said the creation of an in-house NOC was intended to improve the support for Géant's network services.

"Research networks are underpinning vital collaboration in areas such as climate change, medical research and astronomy and our new NOC will ensure the highest levels of service across our large-scale, complex networks," Davies said in a statement.

The Large Hadron Collider is one of the highest-profile projects supported by the Géant network, allowing European research organisations such as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) at Harwell in Oxfordshire to participate in analysing the 15 petabytes per year of data produced by the project.

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