CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, runs the largest machine in the world — the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Particle physics is CERN’s core competence, so it’s outsourcing its data operations to Pentaho, a Hitachi Data Systems company. According to Pentaho, CERN will replace “multiple existing and home-grown systems” with the Pentaho data integration and analytics platform.
CERN is a complex organization not just because of the type of work it does (and amount of data it generates), but because of the people who do it. The CERN community numbers 15,000-plus users, including 2,500 full-time staff. CERN describes itself as a “multicultural organisation that welcomes scientists from more than 100 countries and 680 institutions.” That’s a lot of personnel data to manage — subject to all sorts of international variables — even beyond the task of scientific research data management. Much of the information CERN generates is confidential. CERN’s recent success in identifying the Higgs boson and the subsequent relaunch of the LHC have given the organization a higher global profile. Pentaho expects to complete CERN’s transition to its platform by year-end 2015.