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.

The laboratory: data science services

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.

The list of virtual machine templates and tools available in the Service Catalogue will grow over time, just as the list of available data in the Data Catalogue will grow.

The repository: data hosting and preservation services

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).

There is also a processed, analytics-ready version of each data object presented for use in the ARD Layer; while useful to have, and essential for users, this is not to be regarded as a genuine archive copy!

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 roadmap 2020–2021

Q1 2020: EIDF Phase 1 development system in place.

Q2 2020: EIDF service development and early adopter programmes running.

Q3 2020: EIDF’s new home at the ACF complete.

Q4 2020: EIDF Phase 2 hardware and software installation and configuration.

Q1 2021: EIDF first service for wider use.


3-2-1 principle