300 institutions in 18 European countries are using the GÉANT Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) framework agreements to access market leading commercial cloud service providers. The GÉANT IaaS framework enables them to acquire cloud services in a safe and easy manner. The framework has been through a rigorous EU compliant tender process. There is no need for institutions to run their own tender procedure. The institutions benefit from reduced costs and tailor-made service offerings, which they can access through ready-to-use agreements under local law. The institutions have collectively consumed more than €13 million of commercial cloud services.

Reducing barriers to use

Using the cloud services in the GÉANT framework offers advantages to institutions. It reduces capital expenditure and increases flexibility by using a wealth of available online services. Institutions no longer have to worry about over-provisioning of in-house services that are not required or having to expensively upgrade services that prove to be less popular than anticipated. It also ensures future-proofing. Services are always up-to-date.

However, many organisations are concerned about the perceived lack of control that using commercial providers may bring. GÉANT has been working with the service providers in the framework, to ensure that institutions have the level of technical and financial controls that they need. Besides the agreements, GÉANT and the service providers organise cloud workshops and trainings, to help institutions grow their skills in deploying and using cloud solutions with confidence.

“After moving 98% of our infrastructure in Azure, we don’t have to worry about the physical hardware and administrative and contract costs are much lower.“
Dr. Ray O’Neill, Head of ICT and Procurement, Quality & Qualifications Ireland

“My first experience in working with a cloud service was very positive. All in all, the cloud service, in my opinion, offers many advantages in teaching scenarios on ICT topics.” 
Teacher of the Lycée des Arts et Metiers (LAM), Luxemburg

“We’re collaborating with the universities of Bergen and Oslo to demonstrate how we can create a common market place, a sort of AppStore, where the universities can act as both consumers and suppliers. In this work we have utilized both container technology and Kubernetes.” 
Hildegunn Vada, UNINETT

Next Steps

The success of the GÉANT IaaS framework shows that by working together, the European research and education community can establish the right conditions of use for commercial cloud services. GÉANT will apply these lessons learned in the next step for the delivery of commercial digital services: in the Open Clouds for Research Environments project (OCRE).

As part of the European Open Science Cloud, OCRE stimulates usage of commercial cloud offerings. OCRE aggregates requirements and demand of the European research and education community into a public procurement (tender), to establish agreements with capable cloud as well as Earth Observation service providers. The tender is planned to be published in October 2019, with service agreements signed and available in March 2020. OCRE will facilitate the uptake of these services. In addition to institutions buying resources, the research community can benefit from an EC cloud adoption fund of 9.5 million euro.

GÉANT coordinates the OCRE consortium, alongside CERN (https://home.cern/), RHEA (https://www.rheagroup.com/) and Trust-IT (http://www.trust-itservices.com/).

More information

https://clouds.geant.org

https://www.ocre-project.eu