Edinburgh International Data Facility

What we offer

Part laboratory, part repository, the Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF) provides computational and storage services to support data-driven innovation for the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland region and beyond.

Data science services: the laboratory

The EIDF Data Service Cloud is designed to support data scientists, and data scientists are not (exclusively) programmers. The Data Service Cloud has to support a wide set of users, from the casual data browser to the hard-core machine-learning researcher. It also has to be flexible: tools for data science can and will change all the time.

The Data Service Cloud provides a self-service catalogue for users to select their base virtual machine(s) and customise them with standard data science and engineering tools. It supports:

  • Browser-based access. From Jupyter-notebook-style dynamic webpages to full virtual desktop interfaces – a computer desktop running inside your web browser
  • Command-line access: Traditional secure-shell login access for those comfortable with the Linux command line
  • API access: Direct programmatic access to openly accessible data
  • GPU hardware: Specialised processors for machine learning workloads.data hosting and preservation services

Data hosting and preservation services: the repository

EIDF works with partners from the DDI Programme and beyond to store, preserve and make available digital data assets of all kinds. To guard against data loss, EIDF follows the 3-2-1 principle, with a layered approach to its data architecture and a redundancy-by-replication approach to data durability. EIDF maintains multiple copies of data objects as follows.

  • Data Lake: two copies, one primary, one secondary
  • Onsite backup: one copy
  • Offsite backup: at least one copy (see below).

Safe Haven services

EIDF provides Safe Haven services to health and government users, following best practice in independent governance and supporting the linkage of complex personal data for public benefit research and policy-making under national and regional safeguards. Safe haven services can also be created for organisations wishing to host and govern access to their data assets in a highly secure environment. Our Governance and Security section gives more information.

Service catalogue and roadmap

2020 Q3 - 2021 Q1: Early adopter phase

  • Pre-service support for key DDI projects:

    • Scottish Government
    • Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence
    • UKRI Research Councils
    • the iCAIRD Digital Pathology Archive.

2021 Q2: first service launch

  • New service: Data Service Cloud

    • Preconfigured virtual desktops
    • Small, medium, large and very large virtual machines, with GPU support
  • new service: Data Hosting and Archiving
  • new service: IoT Data Capture
  • new service: Data Catalogue

2021 Q3

  • New service: Private Safe Havens within the National Safe Haven
  • Second wave of DDI early adopters:
    • The DataLoch
    • National Collection of Aerial Photography
    • UoE College of Medicine & Vet Medicine

2022 Q1

  • New service: Cloud-to-HPC Seamless Computing

2022 Q2

  • New service: Text and Data Mining service for DDI projects
  • New service: Big Data Learners’ Open Data Playground

2022 Q4

New service: Regional Data Havens for south-east Scotland Local Authorities


3-2-1 principle