12 October 2011

Data centre shutdown for green power source upgrade

On Friday 21 October 2011, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute will be taking its data centre offline from 12.30pm UK BST (11.30 UTC) until 11am UK BST (10.00 UTC) Monday 24 October

" We regret the inconvenience to all the researchers worldwide who access our data but we believe that the work will make our services more resilient. The more we are able to employ internal, sustainable systems for energy generation, the more we are able to ensure a long-term, stable delivery of data to the research community "

Phil Butcher, Head of IT at the Sanger Institute

The switch-off, only the third since its commissioning in early 2005, is to allow a new greener and more sustainable power source to be attached to the data centre, helping to secure a long-term future of uninterrupted service for the worldwide research community.

The data centre, located at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, holds computing resources for both the Sanger Institute and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). It provides valuable genetic and genomic data to more than 97,000 visitors in more than 150 countries every week.

During the shutdown some Genome Campus-hosted website / bioinformatic resources may be unavailable. Most EMBL-EBI services will be unaffected, and mirror sites exist for many Sanger Institute services. A listing of affected resources and available mirrors can be found at the end of this article.

"We regret the inconvenience to all the researchers worldwide who access our data but we believe that the work will make our services more resilient. This new system will help to reduce our power consumption and ensure a reliable, uninterrupted supply," said Phil Butcher, Head of IT at the Sanger Institute. "The more we are able to employ internal, sustainable systems for energy generation, the more we are able to ensure a long-term, stable delivery of data to the research community."

The new system, known as a combined cooling, heating and power unit or CCHP, is a highly efficient miniature electricity power station that will drastically reduce the data centre's carbon footprint. It employs 'trigeneration' to produce electricity and uses the excess heat generated to drive the centre's heating and cooling systems. In addition, further energy savings will come from the close proximity of the CCHP to the data centre, which will minimise energy lost from transmission through power lines.

The approach is not new: Thomas Edison tried out a similar system in 1882. He used the excess heat generated at his electricity power station to heat homes and supply steam to factories in the Lower Manhattan area of New York.

"We're taking the same idea to allow us to provide electricity, heat and cooling to the data centre's 12 petabytes of storage capacity and 15,000 cores of compute," said David Davison, Campus Director, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus.

The more efficient use of energy in the data centre will help to protect the research community from the vagaries of a fluctuating energy market, both in terms of price and delivery.

"We are keen to ensure that we can supply a long-term, reliable and sustainable service to the research community," said Janet Thornton, Director of EMBL-EBI. "By setting up our systems so that they are as efficient as possible and consume the minimum of externally-sourced electricity, we can continue to provide open-source life science data for the benefit of researchers worldwide."

Available mirrors

Ensembl
Ensembl (Asia) http://asia.ensembl.org/
Ensembl (US East) http://useast.ensembl.org/
Ensembl (US West) http://uswest.ensembl.org/
Xfam
Pfam (US) http://pfam.janelia.org/
Pfam (Sweden) http://pfam.sbc.su.se/
Rfam (US) http://rfam.janelia.org/
Worm resources
WormBase (US) http://www.wormbase.org/
WormBook (US) http://www.wormbook.org/

Sites and services that may be unavailable

Main Sanger Domain
Main site http://www.sanger.ac.uk/
Cosmic http://www.sanger.ac.uk/cosmic/
HTGT http://www.sanger.ac.uk/htgt/
Mouse Resources Portal http://www.sanger.ac.uk/mouseportal/
Sanger Subdomains
AnnoTrack http://annotrack.sanger.ac.uk/
DECIPHER https://decipher.sanger.ac.uk/
MEROPS http://merops.sanger.ac.uk/
Pfam http://pfam.sanger.ac.uk/
Rfam http://rfam.sanger.ac.uk/
RT system https://rt.sanger.ac.uk/
VEGA http://vega.sanger.ac.uk/
WormBook http://wormbook.sanger.ac.uk/
WormBase http://wormbase.sanger.ac.uk/
Ensembl Domain
Ensembl http://www.ensembl.org/
Pre Ensembl http://pre.ensembl.org/
PGP viewer http://pgpviewer.ensembl.org/
Ensembl Projects http://projects.ensembl.org/
Project and Consortium websites
AceDB http://www.acedb.org/
African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research http://www.apcdr.org/
arcOGEN http://www.arcogen.org.uk/
BASIS http://www.basisproject.eu/
The DAS Registry http://www.dasregistry.org/
DDD http://www.ddduk.org/
GENCODE http://www.gencodegenes.org/
GeneDB http://www.genedb.org/
Pathogen Genomics Pathways DB http://pathways.genedb.org/
Genes to Cognition http://www.genes2cognition.org/
Hinxton Courses and Conferences http://www.hinxton.org/
International Data Coordination Centre http://www.i-dcc.org/
IBD Genetics Consortium http://www.ibdgenetics.org/
MAGIC http://www.magicinvestigators.org/
TreeFam http://www.treefam.org/
UK10K http://www.uk10k.org/
WTCCC http://www.wtccc.org.uk/
YourGenome http://www.yourgenome.org/

The European Bioinformatics Institute

The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and is located on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton near Cambridge (UK). The EBI grew out of EMBL's pioneering work in providing public biological databases to the research community. It hosts some of the world's most important collections of biological data, including DNA sequences (ENA), protein sequences (UniProt), animal genomes (Ensembl), 3D structures (the Protein Databank in Europe), data from gene expression experiments (ArrayExpress), protein-protein interactions (IntAct) and pathway information (Reactome). The EBI hosts several research groups and its scientists continually develop new tools for the biocomputing community. EMBL-EBI is coordinating ELIXIR, a pan-European research infrastructure for biological information.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world's leading genome centres. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease.

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The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.

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Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambs, CB10 1SA, UK

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