Today I've been in Harwell at the Advisory Board for the Janet Brokerage. Lots of interesting discussions, can't report on all of them for commercial reasons, but will try and give a flavour of things covered.
The Brokerage are talking to major cloud service providers, and we had a report on negotiations with Microsoft about their 365 service. Work is being done on standardising contracts, terms and conditions, and different licensing offerings to the sector. Other cloud providers will also be approached, including Google.
We also confirmed what the eight suppliers on the framework agreement offer. In summary:
Collocation at tier 2 and above
IaaS, including VM ware, public, private, community and hybrid clouds
Complementary services eg consultancy, planning and managed services.
Use cases include off site data centres, Disaster Recovery, hybrid virtual infrastructure, cloud burst and research infrastructure
There's an event coming up soon where we will be able to ask the suppliers what they can do for us, and for them to find out what it is we need. It's a speed dating event, and details are here.
The brokerage are also working with other bodies including UCISA on costing of IT Services, with the hope of producing some sort of calculator or modelling tool. Knowing the total cost of services is an important part of any cloud or outsourcing decision making process.
During the day I learnt about Moonshot, a project looking at authentication and federated access to applications in the HE community led by JANET. looks interesting, and of particular use by researchers.
Finally, we had a demonstration of meaning based computing from Autonomy. Using their Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL), very intelligent and contextual searches can be carried out across multiple data sources, looking for patterns. Think searching emails from Barclays Bank looking for evidence of rate fixing.... The can also search media, including in socialedia looking for trends, looking for what people are saying about you, your brand, your product, and giving it a positive or negative rating. Unfortunately I had to leave to catch my train before the end, but was very impressed with what I saw, and could see an application for the intelligent and contextual searching in the research collaboration space.
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