Data Handling System move to new data centre: practical implications for users in 2022

ECMWF data centre, Bologna

ECMWF’s new data centre in Bologna, Italy, is close to becoming fully operational. The process has involved the migration of huge amounts of data and systems, which has been conducted with minimal disruption to our service to users. As we get closer to the final stages, which involve the physical move of some of our equipment, we are now expecting a certain level of disruption to some of our activities.

What will happen? 

The Data Handling System (DHS) move will involve shipping tapes from the MARS system in Reading to Bologna, which will result in very limited access to historical data for a period of approximately one month. During this month, data will gradually become available again as the tapes and systems are installed in Italy. The start of the DHS move is currently planned for early September 2022.

To prepare for the DHS move, we are continuing to conduct ‘dry-runs’. These are simulations of the DHS shutdown to ensure that all data necessary to continue the operational production at ECMWF have been copied to a temporary DHS which will be made available from Bologna. A longer dry run, resulting in a reduced service for seven days, is currently scheduled to start at the end of June 2022. The results of the dry-runs will allow us to give a more precise date for the start of the physical DHS move. Please visit this page for more details.

ECMWF DHS move timeline

D indicates the start of the move (which will be published), with completion 28 days later.

Impact on service and timeline 

Operational production and time-critical work will not be affected at all by the move as we will be using temporary disk cache to enable the retrieval and archiving of critical operational data.  

The main impact will be for MARS/ECFS users retrieving historical data. 

Technical information

For an overview of the DHS moveits impact on products, and how you might be affected, detailed technical information is available in the Data Centre Migration to Bologna User space, which you can ‘watch’ to receive notifications of updates 

Next steps

Our teams are already working closely with users to ensure the disruption is kept to a minimum, and that possible impact is mitigated as much as possible.

Following the assessment of the ‘dry runs’, we will publish specific dates marking the start of the physical migration to help users plan around the possible disruption.

This page will be updated regularly so you can follow the latest developments as they happen.


For questions and technical information, please visit the ECMWF Support Portal.