The Met Office’s mainframe of the future

Computacenter, an IT provider that enables users and their businesses, today announced that it has delivered a new IT solution to the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service in partnership with IBM.

The Met Office had already partnered with Computacenter for a previous mainframe upgrade. Following a tender response via a government framework the provider was also selected to assist with this latest project.

The state-of-art scalable mainframe upgrade means that the Met Office which collects and safeguards around 200 million weather observations daily can process greater volumes of weather data in a shorter timeframe.

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Richard Bevan, head of IT infrastructure and operations at the Met Office said: “Every day, our weather and climate forecasts help people make better decisions. We help organisations save lives, reduce costs, meet schedules and encourage growth. We want to transform weather intelligence into a tool that drives greater business performance in today’s digital world and the mainframe is at the heart of that.”

Martyn Hunt, technical lead for the Met Office’s mainframe team added: “Computacenter is an important IT partner for the Met Office. They understand our unique requirements and have a strong relationship with IBM. Any issues with performance can have a direct impact on the availability of the services we provide. Without accurate and timely weather information, everything from commercial flight schedules to emergency rescue operations can be disrupted.”

From March 2017, the new environment, which includes two mainframes with a total of 44 cores and 200 terabytes of attached storage will be able to perform more than 23,000 trillion calculations per second.

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Drawing on mainframe and open source expertise, the IT provider helped the Met Office design a solution that can support new applications and digitalisation initiatives, and scale to meet future demand.

The new platform is based on two IBM z13 LinuxOne mainframes and IBM hybrid storage systems, and will eventually include IBM Wave for virtual server management.

The Met Office plans to migrate a number of additional applications, open source databases and workloads to the new environment, including its file transfer hubs, which are currently hosted on disparate server clusters.

Brian Say, enterprise solution specialist at Computacenter, concluded: “By helping the Met Office bring together various solutions, we were able to create a client experience that will benefit millions of individuals and organisations across the UK”.

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For example, better forecasting for adverse weather conditions could enable airport controllers to plan for disruption and allow flight path optimisation to reduce fuel consumption.

The new mainframe will help power a range of public forecasting services, commercial products and mobile apps at a time of increased demand for weather intelligence. With more than 35% additional mainframe capacity, as well as increasing operational agility and efficiency, the upgrade has also reduced total cost of ownership.

Following the latest successful implementation, Computacenter received an IBM Beacon Award for the Most Innovative Client Experience on z System.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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