About BEAR





The Birmingham Environment for Academic Research (BEAR) is a collection of complimentary IT resources managed by IT Services that are designed to help research, all of which are free at the point of use. The 2015/16 procurement for an industry integrator/partner to work with across the suite of services resulted in a framework agreement with OCF, backed by leading technology companies such as Lenovo, IBM, DDN, Mellanox, Mechdyne and IOCOM who together offer a broad spread of expertise to help build the environment and develop services.

 Currently the components of BEAR are:

  • BlueBEAR, our Linux-based, batch processing High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster
  • BEAR Windows, a limited Windows-based HPC cluster
  • BEAR Cloud, the next generation of powerful compute resources built for flexibility, accessibility and efficiency.
  • BEAR Datashare, offering dropbox-type facilities for collaboration both on and off campus
  • BEAR View, offering visualisation, collaboration and large scale videoconferencing facilities including a 4metre by 2metre display screen, 2 and 3-D imaging and movement tracking.
  • BEAR Research Data Store, providing storage for ‘work-in-progress’ data, including a facility for groups with exceptionally large requirements to purchase capacity
  • BEAR Research Data Archive, delivering resilient storage exclusively for the retention of data associated with public research.
  • BEAR Research Data Network, catering for the fast transmission of exceptional data volumes, generated by specific scientific equipment on campus.
  • BEAR Plus, additional computational resources available to Birmingham researchers through the Tier2 regional centres and other national resources. (Note, some of these national resources may be paid-for services).
  • Exclusive BEAR, enabling  research groups with demanding or time-sensitive workloads to buy centrally managed and dedicated compute capacity costs for management and all supporting infrastructure (racks, switches and of course electricity) are usually met by IT Services.
  • BEAR Database Service, runs on MariaDB which is compatible with MySQL. The service runs in a high-availability cluster and is available both from the BlueBEAR cluster and from the campus network.

Planned developments include

  • BEAR Galaxy (for computational biologists) - a platform for data-intensive biomedical research (analysis and process sharing)
  • BEAR Render, a compute cluster optimised for rendering images and videos
  • BEAR Gitlab

Problems or questions should be logged with the IT Service Desk at http://www.itservicedesk.bham.ac.uk. This ensures that they reach the most appropriate person and are tracked. This also allow any common areas of concern to be identified and addressed as well as addressing the individual support requests.

To justify ongoing funding for this service it is essential that outcomes such as publications and/or grant awards are recognised by the University. Please complete a brief on-line form to give us this information.

Last modified: 7 February 2017