Building of the iToBoS Cloud – Part I: Background

The success of new scientific research, such as the novel holistic approach for melanoma detection in iToBoS, is increasingly dependent on the efficient storage and processing of copious amounts of data originating from research. Moreover, the scientists often require complex, large-scale platforms based on the coordinated operation of multiple components.

In iToBoS, the Budapest-based ELKH Cloud infrastructure is to facilitate a major part of the research work by providing a turnkey high-capacity hardware infrastructure and special software environment necessary for such data-driven research. Leveraging the applied scalability and virtualization technologies, the iToBoS Cloud (built upon the ELKH Cloud infrastructure) will be able serve various and constantly changing user demands, resulting in, among others, significant economic savings.

ELKH Cloud, the cloud computing system of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH) is one of the largest general-purpose research infrastructures in Hungary. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences initiated the development of the cloud in 2016, and ELKH further developed the infrastructure in 2021. Members of the Hungarian scientific community are not only using but are also developing and operating the cloud services. The Institute for Computer Science and Control (SZTAKI) and the Data Centre of the Wigner Research Centre for Physics (Wigner FK) provide the computing and data services to the users involved in more than 200 national and partly international research projects – such as iToBoS.

In addition to operating systems and basic IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) level cloud functionalities, the most popular artificial intelligence research and data ingestion frameworks are also available at PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) level due to the open architecture based on OpenStack. This will be detailed in the Part II of this blog series.

Based on positive feedback received in recent years, as well as growing demand for artificial intelligence applications, the cloud capacity was significantly expanded in 2021 with support from ELKH. As a result, 5900 vCPU, 500+ vGPU, 28 TB RAM, 338 TB SSD storage, 1.25 PB HDD storage and 100 Gbps network capacities have become available to users.

The enhanced ELKH Cloud provides a competitive research infrastructure on a European level, and we aim to make the enhanced cloud an integral part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and SLICES ESFRI initiatives. This will allow free flow of applications and data in the Horizon Europe programme through the European infrastructure, providing opportunities for establishing high profile international collaborations in an ever-widening field. You will be able to learn about this in the Part III of this blog series.

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