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A cloud marketplace for science: the Helix Nebula Marketplace

The Helix Nebula Marketplace is a European Cloud Marketplace service that is compliant with EU regulations and legislation, created through collaboration between commercial providers and public e-Infrastructures, including the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) and the pan-European research and education network (GÉANT). The marketplace is open to new cloud providers that are able to participate competitively in line with European regulations and with a suitable quality of service.

The marketplace intends to deliver easy access to a range of commercial Cloud Services through a broker that will be identified within the Helix Nebula Initiative (HNI).

The Cloud services are offered to the global research community, for both publicly-funded and commercial research and technology organisations from diverse sectors, including healthcare, oil and gas, financial, high-tech, and manufacturing. This scope will enable large-scale and High Performance Computing (HPC) deployments from the start.

A pilot phase of the marketplace has been carried out in which flagship applications from CERN, EMBL and ESA were tested. In May 2014 the first Helix Nebula Marketplace product, the HNX platform, was launched and entered its production phase. Customers have been able to use HNX to choose between various suppliers or combinations of suppliers offering independent cloud services, and to buy, use and manage such cloud services seamlessly.
HNI offers a unique environment in which public organisations can discuss freely with commercial and publicly funded cloud service providers. The priority now is to develop agreed and interoperable service management policies, process and procedures for cloud offering in a hybrid federated environment, equitable contractual conditions and market transparency to engage a critical mass of suppliers and convince the demand-side to adopt it as a production environment.

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