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European Weather Centre is looking for an IT hardware supplier


Computer equipment and supplies

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Reading UK

Main place of performance: ECMWF Data Centre, Tecnopolo di Bologna, Via Stalingrado, Bologna, Italy

36+24 months

Deadline 11/5


ECMWF Data Centre: ECMWF has one of the largest IT data storage facilities in the world comprising its main Data Handling System, which primarily stores observational data and data generated by its High Performance Computer system, and various ancillary storage systems including network attached storage. The equipment is currently from diverse manufacturers, including but not limited to Brocade, Dell, HPE, IBM, NetApp, Spectra Logic and Western Digital.

ECMWF’s HPC Facility: ECMWF’s High Performance Computing Facility is based on an Atos Sequana XH2000 based service. These are used to run large mathematical models allowing the Centre to predict the weather worldwide over periods of several weeks. Note that this ITT does not cover the provision of any equipment related to ECMWF’s supercomputers.

ECMWF’s Storage Systems: ECMWF maintains a large database of weather-related information. The Data Handling System (DHS) currently holds 550 petabytes of data, the bulk of it being pre-compressed and scientific in nature. This data is stored in a tiered environment controlled by the High Performance Storage System (HPSS). Most data are stored on tape media, with only 3% of the data residing on disk. HPSS is highly distributed software, making use of many servers to transfer data between disks or tape drives and users archiving or accessing the archives, via a high performance network.

Two ECMWF-written applications (MARS and ECFS) provide easy-to-use interfaces to DHS users. MARS data represents about 80% of the volume of data stored in the DHS, with ECFS represents the remaining 20%. In a typical day the archive grows by about 380 TB (this figure is expected to increase to 1PB per day).

Disk storage is connected to the servers through four Storage Area Networks (SAN) directors. ECMWF currently uses HPE DL and Dell R families of servers.

NAS-based Storage: Hybrid flash/disk based online storage is provided for users’ home spaces, dedicated meteorological caches and large project areas. These services use a mix of NetApp clusters and TrueNAS based systems. The TrueNAS systems are constructed from general purpose HPE/Dell servers with JBOD SAS connected disk enclosures. NAS-based storage is also utilised by a considerable number of virtualised infrastructures like vSphere, VDI and K8S clusters providing services including software development, job control, remote access, databases, object stores, web applications and charts visualisation.

Scope of the ITT

2.1. Objective – This ITT is expected to result in the setting up of a framework contract with 5 to 10 suppliers, with the ultimate purpose of securing the best value for money in the provision of IT data storage equipment and related support services. The suppliers admitted onto the framework will be invited to compete for future purchases of similar types of equipment to those specified in Section 3. The initial framework will be for three years with the possibility of extension for a further two years. The framework awards (i.e. inclusion of suppliers onto the framework) are subject to approval by ECMWF’s governing body, its Council, which meets in June 2023, so framework contracts with selected suppliers cannot be signed before mid-July 2023. ECMWF may reopen the competition at a later date to add additional suppliers to the framework on the same conditions.

In addition, this ITT intends to place an order for an Initial Purchase (Lot 1) comprising equipment from the supplier providing best value for money for this Lot 1, which has also been selected for the framework. The contract for this Lot 1 will be awarded in June 2023.

Suppliers may submit Tenders for inclusion onto the framework without bidding to supply Lot 1.

2.2. Important aspects of this ITT

– Tenders are welcomed from suppliers based in any country (subject to supply and support requirements).

– Whilst Section 3 contains a list of manufacturers, Tenderers representing other manufacturers are welcome to respond.

– Whilst the Initial Purchase under Lot 1 comprises equipment manufactured by Western Digital, subsequent orders may be for other specified or non-specified branded equipment and may be for brands that are not currently used by ECMWF.

– For future purchases all suppliers on the framework will generally be invited to tender via a further competition for the respective Lot.

– Suppliers on the framework which are invited to participate in a further competition for future purchases are not obliged to tender.

– Each future further competition will have its own evaluation criteria, although the main criterion is likely to be price. Prior performance on the previous Lots awarded under the framework (e.g. timely delivery/installation, successful acceptance etc.) will also be considered when awarding the contract resulting from a future mini competition.

– All equipment shall conform to EU specifications. While it is the intention of ECMWF to use this framework contract for purchases for its Data Centre in Bologna (Italy), there may be requirements for delivery to other locations, including non-EU ones, which will be notified in the documentation issued for a future purchase. In such case, equipment shall conform to standards and specifications, depending on the location of delivery.

– Due to the nature of some of the ECMWF projects, certain future purchases may be subject to specific administrative/legal conditions and/or restrictions (e.g. eligibility to receive funding). Such conditions shall be explicitly specified in the respective Lot documentation and the respective Lot competition shall be conducted among those suppliers which are not affected by such conditions.

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