Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has deployed open source Red Hat systems for mission-critical applications.

Last year, Cern said it was in the middle of expanding its IT infrastructure to accommodate the growing amount of data being produced by its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Cern is using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation and Red Hat Technical Account Management services to provide a "reliable and stable platform".

The project includes nearly 600 servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux operated by Cern at its Geneva data centre, fulfilling database, application server and backup and recovery functions.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is running some of the organisation’s most critical applications, including the Large Hadron Collider Logging Server and the central financial and HR systems for Cern's members of personnel and 11,000 users.

Beyond reliable uptime, said Cern, Red Hat Enterprise Linux also delivers "minimal administrative overhead" and offers "high flexibility and rapid deployment times" for key applications and services.

In addition, Cern is running Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation in its cutting-edge LHCb experiment, which focuses primarily on identifying the differences between matter and anti-matter.

A stable and reliable IT infrastructure is critical to LHCb, as it supports the controlling, configuring and monitoring functions for around one million systems and processes, including detectors, temperature sensors and power supply units as well as entire software processes.

The infrastructure is comprised of physical two-socket servers and is virtualised using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation on Dell PowerEdge M610 servers (with Intel Nehalem or Ivy Bridge processors with between 96GB and 256GB of RAM per server) and a Brocade FC8 SAN with a NetApp data storage system.

The high availability infrastructure is built to be completely redundant, a critical feature for Cern as control system downtime almost always results in data loss.

Cern's Red Hat subscription enables the organisation to take advantage of Red Hat Technical Account Management (TAM) services. Through Red Hat TAM, Cern is assigned a dedicated technical contact person at Red Hat, who offers consultation services and support in both strategic and operative decision-making processes.

A long-term Red Hat customer, Cern also uses other solutions from the open source specialist in different IT areas. For instance, Cern uses Red Hat JBoss Fuse, a flexible, enterprise service bus (ESB) platform for integrating applications, data, services and devices. JBoss Fuse provides services for transformation, routing and log assignments.

Tim Bell, group leader of IT operating systems and infrastructure services at Cern, said: "We appreciate the stability and availability of solutions from Red Hat. This is extremely important to us because we use these solutions in highly critical areas where commercial support, resilience and reliability are key requirements."