Cloud user stories, vendor workshops and discussions:
A recap of some of the most well-attended and popular TNC19 sessions

From technical topics, to user stories from the field, strategic sessions on the future of implementing cloud services in the NREN community and other EC-sponsored programs, everyone seemed to be talking about cloud services and deployment at TNC19 in Tallinn.

A highlight this year was a session that featured user stories from the field. Presenters showed how institutions and NRENs saved time, money and improved research and education by deploying cloud-based services. Garvan McFeeley (HEAnet), Michel Wets (SURFnet), Jakob Tendel (DFN), Antonio Saravia (RedIRIS), and Jessica Wu (JISC) described members’ “integration journeys”, on both single or hybrid cloud environments, on-premises or online, build or rent services. They also shared their experience with different provider models, including NREN cloud services and commercial cloud offerings. The use cases focused on the needs, technical aspects of virtual machines, video recording lectures, storing datasets, backup solutions, disaster recovery and more. If you missed it, enjoy the archived stream:

or click on session 8C here.

A new and exciting development in the video conferencing space is the addition of a dedicated WebRTC solution developed specifically for the NREN community. eduMEET was featured in the *edu session. eduMEET will help research and education users who need to collaborate across different organisations and countries, through a VC service that is safe, easy to use, accessible, affordable and inter-operable. To see the archived stream of Bartek (Bartlomiej Idzikowski)’s presentation on eduMEET, click on 7D here.

With research and education becoming increasingly global and collaborative, access to cost effective and easy to use cloud computing and cloud-based services are a vital component in delivering the next generation of education facilities. Cloud computing is moving from the computer science labs into the mainstream of R&E with users across all sectors from archaeology to music and drama. But questions and concerns remain: from security and architecture to development and deployment complexities. The “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Cloud But Were Afraid to Ask” session provided a unique opportunity to bring together representatives from the major cloud computing providers to discuss these issues and more.

There is a lot to the adage that it is best to hear it straight from the source, and that’s what attendees did at the Cloud Services and Technologies Workshop. A great crowd came to hear insights from Microsoft, Google and Amazon on the latest developments the future trends of cloud services for the R&E community.

Keeping a TNC tradition alive, the Cloud team hosted another successful Cloud Café evening, for informal discussions and a place to exchange ideas and experiences cloud service adoption. Attendees enjoyed refreshments and mingled with the GÉANT cloud project team, colleagues working with clouds from NRENs and institutions from the four corners of the globe, and representatives from cloud providers.

The Global Cloud Group, a grassroots initiative, held their second meeting at TNC19. This group, similar to other global groups of like-minded professionals that extends outside the GÉANT European community, includes representatives of NRENs from around the world (and their umbrella associations like GÉANT in Europe). Recognising that implementing these services involves a range of technical and business decisions, on strategic, tactical and operational levels, the participants regularly discuss user and organisational needs, technical integrations, supplier management and procurement, data privacy laws, challenges in managing a multi-vendor cloud portfolio and budget modelling and cost control. Cloud managers from the participating NRENs shared their progress on cloud delivery and adoption, the roles they play, service offerings in place, and lessons learned.

Some of the issues raised in the Forum included: how to improve the connection between researchers, NRENs and providers; KPIs to measure success; as well as setting top priorities. Participants from Kenya, Brazil, Ecuador, Canada, the Netherlands and Finland shared their experiences. The NREN representatives that participated voted unanimously that such forums are needed, and are already planning for the coming year and at TNC20.