FOCUS - ScienceMAN 3.0

An important step in the digitisation project of our heritage

The federal scientific institutions (Belgian FWIs) such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Royal Library of Belgium, the National Archives and the Museum of Natural Sciences contain an invaluable scientific and cultural heritage. Their collections enjoy both national and international recognition. For just over 10 years a digitisation programme has been ongoing to preserve this heritage for future generations; digitisation is also necessary to enable research, simplify exchange and to open up the collections to a wider public.

Since 2014, within this framework the Federal Science Policy (Belspo) has been working on the development of a platform to increase the storage capacity of the 10 FWIs in Brussels for the long-term storage of their heritage. For this Belspo can count on its partners Atos, Belnet and Smals. To ensure redundancy, the platform is hosted in two federal data centres, Industry Anderlecht and Finto.

“A network with sufficient high capacity is a must in order to enter and process the huge amount of digital data (several petabits). Thanks to the ScienceMAN project, the 10 federal scientific institutions will have access to the platform via a network with a 10 Gbit backbone, i.e. 10 times more capacity than previously. The network also forms a redundant ring - resulting in increased reliability and certainty.”
Pierre Bruyère (ICT Manager Belspo)

Belnet carried out a study to develop this network in the most beneficial manner possible, taking into account the budgetary limitations. Moreover, Belnet provided more certainty thanks to the redundant configuration and increased capacity with the 10 Gbit backbone. The interconnectivity between the two datacentres is guaranteed by Smals.

 “ScienceMAN3 is a vital element in the digitisation project: without increasing the budget this network provides greater capacity and reliability.” Pierre Bruyère (ICT Manager Belspo)

The ScienceMAN 3.0 project will result in a new ring (G-8032) for the Belnet network and a 45 km dark fibre network that connects the main buildings of the federal scientific institutions with one another. The launch of ScienceMAN 3.0 is planned for 1 December 2016. The project is a fine example of cooperation between the various federal scientific institutions and Belnet and with it we will realise our mission of “Dedicated Connectivity”.