The Helix Nebula project combines the computing needs of large European research institutions such as CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and the European Space Agency with the technical capabilities of companies like CloudSigma, Logica, and SAP. Working together, these two groups are addressing the technical, legal, and procedural issues that today make it difficult to seamlessly move jobs from one cloud to another at scale.
In September the European Commission finally unveiled its long-awaited European Cloud Computing Strategy. This document identifies a number of steps that must be followed in order to build a vibrant and profitable cloud computing market in Europe. Europe, according to European Commission VP Neelie Kroes, should be “not just cloud friendly, but cloud active.” The commission claims that businesses will see costs reduced by 10 to 20 percent through the use of cloud computing. Public services will be transformed, and taxpayers’ money will be saved. Millions of jobs will be created, and billions of euros in new money will flow.
Despite beginning in the specialized area of data-intensive scientific research, the Helix Nebula project could offer a blueprint for the broader vision that the European Commission is painting.