The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is implementing a token-based system to allow 3,000 users in 28 countries easier access to its two 155-server IBM supercomputers at its international hub in Reading, Berkshire.
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The Actividentity system, from systems integrator Sysec Solutions, has a capital cost of £350,000, and will save an estimated £250,000 in running costs over its expected life of 10 years.
The old system, installed in 1995, had become increasingly expensive to maintain, said Didier Garçon, network analyst at ECMWF. "Our old tokens expired in just three years, which meant there was an almost constant need to replace and distribute them to new users," he said.
The new tokens have a life span of six years, and the centre will no longer have to pay to issue new tokens.
The system also supports multiple forms of authentication, and enables ECMWF to add extra identity assurance capabilities as required.
ECMWF, which receives about £30m a year from its member countries, produces weather forecasts from eight to 15 and 30 days ahead, and seasonal forecasts six to 12 months ahead.
Data comes from terrestrial observations, satellites, buoys, ships and aircraft for processing in Reading.