Story image

Goonhilly opens new data centre with green HPC platform for AI and ML 

UK-based Goonhilly Earth Station has opened its new data centre, while at the same time flexed its eco credentials with the launch of a managed green high performance computing (HPC) platform for artificial intelligence and machine learning on demand. 

The satellite communications innovator is one of the first organisations in the UK to deploy a liquid immersion cooling system to mitigate the power demands of HPC. Goonhilly's green platform is designed to meet the data-intensive needs of the automotive, life sciences and space/aerospace marketplaces. Additionally, its onsite array of solar panels can support the data centre's full power requirements of 500KW, and local wind power will be added to the mix shortly.

According to Chris Roberts, gead of data centre and cloud at Goonhilly, says the company's goal is to create a UK hub for AI and ML services that acts as a marketplace and allows academia and enterprise to collaborate and share ideas.

"The new managed platform delivers high performance GPU-based compute and storage for decentralised and centralised AI and machine learning applications to meet the data-intensive needs of the automotive, life sciences and space/aerospace marketplaces," he says. 

"By provisioning both compute and AI and machine learning resources on demand, customers can reduce the cost of deployment and accelerate time to market."

Further extending its AI capabilities, Goonhilly has joined the NVIDIA Inception programme for businesses that are transforming industries through advancements in AI and data sciences. Goonhilly will use the NVIDIA DGX-1, the world's first supercomputer purpose-built for enterprise AI and deep learning.

Roberts says that because Goonhilly's tier 3/4 data centre sits at the junction of global subsea cables, satellite feeds and fibre, customers can analyse data at the edge, eliminating the cost of a leased line to send huge data volumes back to London, or farther afield, for processing.

 Existing satellite customers are also expected to use the data centre, Roberts says. 

"Previously, the data transmitted was solely small packets of communications signals but today's satellites are used for applications including 8K real-time imaging, which use petabytes of data. By analysing the data at the edge, a much smaller packet can then be cost-effectively distributed," he explains.

To mark the data centre opening and as part of its celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Goonhilly is hosting an event on-site this week for space industry partners, academia, customers and prospects. It includes a panel discussion on trends in AI, cloud and edge computing.

"There are people working on some clever algorithms to save our planet from climate change," Roberts says. 

"The irony is that these models require heavy processing power. Fortunately new technology is helping, such as immersion cooling which is 45-50% more efficient than air cooling, cuts electricity demand in half, and also allows us to use the exhaust heat elsewhere," he explains.
 
"Through our strong partnerships with industry and academia we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovation," says Ian Jones, CEO of Goonhilly. 

"Our new green data centre is no exception," he says. 

"It is satisfying to open our doors to the many businesses and organisations with data-intensive applications who can benefit from this facility and the community we are creating,"