The European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and Water-Column Observatory to explore the Oceans

About EMSO

The European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO) is an association of countries each of which owns and operates a diverse array of marine research infrastructures at fixed locations both in the open ocean and in shelf seas

EMSO aims to explore the oceans, to gain a better understanding of phenomena happening within and below them, and to explain the critical role that these phenomena play in the broader Earth systems. EMSO represents a major asset for European marine scientists who now have a powerful tool to address pressing scientific and societal challenges. These include tracking and addressing the trends and effects of climate change, mitigating geo-hazards and assessing ecosystem structure and function.

EMSO wants to provide access to curated data and offer high-quality services to a large and diverse group of users, from scientists and industries to institutions and policy makers, for defining environmental policies based on scientific data.

The challenge

EMSO consists of a system of regional facilities placed at key sites around Europe, from North East to the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, to the Black Sea. Observatories are platforms equipped with multiple sensors, placed along the water column and on the seafloor. They constantly measure different biogeochemical and physical parameters that address natural hazards, climate change and marine ecosystems. To support this challenge, EGI contributed to operate different EMSO ERIC services including the data portal which received thousands of visits from different countries.

In a nutshell, the challenge EMSO is trying to solve is to provide access to curated data and offer high-quality services to a large and diverse group of users, from scientists and industries to institutions and policy makers, for defining environmental policies based on scientific data. A fundamental technical component of the EMSO cyber-infrastructure, that allows the integration of data from EMSO regional facilities where the observatories are deployed, is the EMSO ERIC Data Platform. This Data Platform has been designed to be scalable, flexible and able to provide high quality data products for a growing set of stakeholders in a wide range of disciplines. From the technical perspective, the platform ingests, consolidates, processes and archives data, integrates the data management architectures of the regionally distributed EMSO nodes and makes data available to the community. 

EGI Services used by EMSO

Cloud Compute

Online Storage

EGI Check-In

EGI Partners involved:

CESGA (Spain)


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The EMSO ERIC Data Management Platform

The data workflow starts at the regional facilities that operate the observatories. The data collected from the sensors is curated and made available through a data source that can be a National data center, repositories, APIs, and tools such as ERDDAP.

In order to deliver added-value services, the EMSO ERIC Data Management Platform harmonizes the data sets following Oceansites specifications, FAIR principles, and EOSC guidelines.

The resulting harmonized data will be offered via REST APIs for building services such as data portals, dashboards, or analysis tools.

Usage of the EGI computing resources

Over the last 2 years (Dec. 2019 – May 2021) EMSO-ERIC:

  • Consumed more than 2,879,779 of (Cloud) CPU hours 
  • Instantiated 242 VMs in the EGI Federated Cloud infrastructure. 

For up-to-date metrics, go to the EGI Accounting Portal.

EMSO ERIC Data Portal in numbers

During the EOSC-hub project, the EMSO ERIC services operated using EGI resources such as the data portal received visits from more than one thousand distinct users from 85 countries. The countries with the largest number of visits include China, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and Germany.

Support from EGI

The collaboration with EGI started back in 2017 when 4 cloud providers of the EGI Federation agreed to support the EMSODEV project during the design and implementation of the EMSODEV Data Portal. In total, the 4 providers offered 9TB of storage capacity and about 340 vCPU cores. This collaboration continued in the EOSC-hub project where a dedicated Competence Centre across the NGIs, involving user experts in the scientific domain, resource centres, and technology providers of the EGI Collaboration was set-up with the goal to further support the community needs. 

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From a technical perspective, through the Competence Centre, EGI delivered expertise and support on a variety of  technical areas including platform development, data migration, and training on the EGI advanced services.

The EOSC-hub project has been instrumental for having continuity to this effort and to transition the Data Management Platform to pre-production. The cloud-based resources provided from two geo-distributed datacenters in Italy (INFN-CLOUD-BARI) and Spain (CESGA) belonging to the EGI Federation, guaranteed by an SLA, have been used to support three environments:

  • Development/test site that provides an environment for software evolution and testing, including configuration management, continuous integration and functional testing, 
  • Core site that supports the EMSO ERIC Data Portal software stack, including back-end processes and data services exposed to users; and 
  • Backup core site that represents a mirror of the core site for system resiliency and business continuity, including data and services mirroring and fail-over capabilities.

In the context of EGI-ACE the agreement with the two providers has been recently renewed until June 2023 in order to continue the operation of the platform as one of the EGI-ACE Data Space providers.

EGI services used by EMSO

The EMSO Data Management Platform is using the following EGI services:


EGI Cloud Compute and the cloud-based EGI Online Storage to distribute the computations. 


EGI Check-In to enable user’ registration and authentication mechanisms.

About EGI Services & Training

EGI delivers advanced computing services to support scientists, multinational projects and research infrastructures.

The EGI Services are provided by EGI’s federated cloud providers and data centres.
The services can be requested by everyone involved in academic research and businesses via the EGI Marketplace.

Examples of how researchers use our services can be found in the EGI Use Cases publication.
See also examples of how EGI supports research infrastructures.

More on EGI Services & Training. 

Resource providers supporting EMSO ERIC

A Service Level Agreement with the following providers was agreed with EMSO ERIC: 


CESGA, Spain member of ES-NGI, and


INFN-CLOUD-BARI, Italy, member of INFN

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More specifically, INFN-CLOUD-BARI is used as a primary data centre to deploy the Data Management Platform (production, development and testing environments). INFN-CLOUD-BARI provided 300 vCPU cores, 1.2TB of RAM and 10TB of block storage. 

In CESGA are replicated services that are used in fail-over for disaster recovery and business continuity. The total resources offered by CESGA amount to: 192 vCPU cores, 512GB of RAM and 600GB HDD of block storage. For further details, about the collaboration agreement between EGI and EMSO ERIC, please check the EGI documents repository.

In 2020, the EMSO-ERIC data services deployed in the EGI Infrastructure were in operational status. During that time, the quality of service has been very close to 100% without any significant incident.