Friday, January 14, 2011

International Conference Emerging Standards for the Educational Cloud and importance to IPv6

[Many R&E organizations are wrestling with issue of clouds in terms of adoption and deployment.
Some plan to deploy their own clouds while others are looking to use commercial services.  A lot of the focus has been on clouds for research purposes – but there is also a huge opportunity in using for educational applications from grade school through to university.  I think R&E institutions can play a much more effective role in developing tools to use various commercial clouds, rather than spending precious resources deploying their own clouds.  For example education applications like Kuali  ( are ideally suited  to be deployed in the cloud. 

I am also a big advocate of using commercial cloud services rather than rolling out a do-it-yourself cloud for a number of reasons:

(a)    The cloud market is intensively competitive and innovative, where scale can make a huge difference in terms of reliability and accessibility.  It is much easier to develop a set of common contractual service and interface requirements with commercial suppliers in regards to privacy, reliability etc. SURF and SURFnet, for example spent almost 2 years negotiating a set of common service interfaces with major cloud providers on behalf of all the education institutions in the Netherlands.  They are also developing the collaborative federated ID tools to use these cloud services called SURFconext .  See

(b)   The cloud will enable much faster adoption of IPv6 by universities and educational institutes. One would think that R&E institutions would be at the forefront of IPv6 adoption – but sadly there are not.  See for more details.  By moving e-mail, web services and other applications to cloud providers that support IPv6 universities, schools and colleges can avoid a lot of the pain of deploying IPv6 at their institution.  As well students and researchers off campus will see dramatic improvement in the performance of their campus applications (especially those using mobile Internet) as most cloud providers use distributed architectures and are collocating cloud facilities at major IXs and GOLEs.  This is why future network architectures built around GOLEs are so important. Even though GOLEs were originally intended for high end optical applications, paradoxically they are also critically important for future mobile wireless Internet.  See Future architecture and Directions for R&E networks

(c)    Commercial Clouds enable greening of the campus.  As I have blogged many times the easiest way for a university to reduce its carbon footprint is to offload as much as possible its HPC and campus computing to a green cloud provider.  Campus computing represents anywhere from 15-40% of the carbon footprint at a typical university or college.  I am pleased to report, for example, in Canada a major green cloud provider Rackforce ( ) is now working with Canadian Standards Association  ( develop the appropriate standards, as an outcome of the Greenstar ( project to allow institutions to earn green credits by using the RackForce cloud service.

As many of you many know I am now working as  consultant to SURFnet in the Netherlands exploring many of these issues.  I am pleased to see that SURF and SURFnet are playing a global leadership and exploring the new standards for educational cloud in an upcoming conference listed below. As far as I know SURF has been the first R&E organization in the world to negotiate common service standards with major cloud providers on behalf of all the education  institutions in the Netherlands. So I think this conference might be well worth attending. – BSA]

International Conference Emerging Standards for the Educational Cloud


Wednesday, February 16, 2011 

Cost: $ 150
Location: Geertekerk, Geert Kerkhof 23, 3511 XC Utrecht

On Wednesday, February 16 SURF organize and IMS GLC in close cooperation withKennisnet an international conference on digital facilities and standardization within and abroad.

The range of digital cross-institution services and amenities is increasing. Examples are: Studielink; Studiekeuze123 and Hodex for central de-closing training information; Wikiwijs, Edurep and LOREnet for central unlocking materials, and Cloud services like Google Apps and Live at Edu who recently through SURFfederatie of Education - research sector and accessible.

With the proliferation of devices grows, the need for standardization of messages and business processes. Without these standards it is not possible with data services from the institutions to educate the exchange of information between different services difficult.

This meeting is aimed at information managers and CIOs, but also more technically minded will find enough interesting topics.

 The official language is English.

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