NET+ Infrastructure and Platform Services (IPS) Portfolio Update 

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By Bob Flynn - Internet2 Program Manager, Cloud Infrastructure & Platform Services

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

It’s a clear, calm, sunny day as I write this, but all around me I see cloud. There is amazing work going on all around the research and education (R & E) cloud community, and Internet2 is honored to be doing our part to enable and assist. In this post, I’ll update you on the work we are involved in with you and for you.

Internet2 cloud net plus logo

Service Updates and Community Engagement

Higher Ed IT’s superpower is sharing our challenges, lessons, failures, time and, heck, even code with each other to remove barriers to success as we support the missions of our institutions. To that end, a core function of the NET+ IPS programs is to bring the community together around common cloud technology topics. Here are some updates on the NET+ IPS services:

  • NET+ AWS – The NET+ AWS Service Advisory Board has been working with Leo Zhadanovsky, chief technologist for education for AWS Worldwide Public Sector, to collect community feature requests and get them to the proper AWS teams. Early in 2024 Leo will give a report on their progress to those institutions with NDAs in place. Check with your AWS account team to confirm your institution has an NDA in place, so you can join us.
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  • NET+ GCP – To address the challenge of cloud cost unpredictability, Google offers the Public Sector Subscription Agreement (PSSA). The PSSA enables public sector customers to purchase Google Cloud services at a fixed monthly price for a defined workload without the variability of month-to-month consumption spikes. PSSAs through NET+ can provide spending predictability for research, development, departmental, and enterprise workloads.

    Whether it is a researcher wishing to leverage the power of the cloud but with the fixed cost of a server purchase, a department wishing to put all their cloud projects in a single, predictable monthly bill, or an entire institution looking to set up a sandbox to experiment with GenAI tools without fear of run-away costs, PSSAs provide a mechanism to remove the unpredictability of the monthly cloud bill. Find out more by contacting netplus@internet2.edu.
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  • NET+ Kion – The youngest member of the IPS portfolio, the NET+ Kion program has now grown to more than a dozen schools. The NET+ Kion Early Adopter group meets regularly to share their work and discuss the Kion roadmap. It’s fascinating to see how many different ways these leading schools are using this versatile tool. Kion has a back-to-school promotion running through the end of 2023, which includes a VIP onboarding experience with free installation/training and premium support free for the first year. Find out more by contacting netplus@internet2.edu.
Kion logo

Community Engagement

In the NET+ AWS and NET+ GCP programs, we gather regularly to expand our productivity and our minds on cloud technologies. These are the kinds of meetings we regularly hold and examples of recent topics covered. 

Note: Occasionally the topic is so timely or the opportunity so special that we open these sessions up to the larger community to share the knowledge and bring in more voices. The linked sessions below give you a sample of some of the NET+ IPS program activities.

  • Tech Jams – deeper dives that bring in product/service expertise from the vendor to provide targeted consulting we can all learn from
    • How to build a CMMC environment in AWS
    • Managing abandoned projects in GCP
    • Higher Ed re:Invent re:Cap
  • Strategy Calls – discussions of larger cloud themes and their implications
  • Town Halls – presentations by industry speakers about emerging themes or technologies
  • Tech Shares – open mic discussions where we discuss whatever you are working on or dealing with. Recent topics include:
    • Exploring quantum computing
    • Enabling age-based access to early access services
    • Creating security control policies for blocking IAM creation
    • Enabling GenAI exploration in your organization

Other IPS Community News

  • Internet2 Community Exchange – Cloud is back on the menu at Community Exchange 2024 with many compelling sessions. I also anticipate a cloud workshop or two. We already have word that the Microsoft team will hold an Azure OpenAI hands-on workshop on Monday, March 4. Stay tuned for more information.
  • The NET+ team keeps its ear to the ground to track community interest in additional programs. Last month we collaborated with HashiCorp and our partners at Carahsoft on a wonderful Vault webinar from the team at the University of Florida. If you or your colleagues are interested in working with your peers and Internet2 on HashiCorp Vault, Terraform, or other HashiCorp services, take a moment to let us know via this very brief survey.
  • The Research Storage Working Group of the Internet2 Cloud Services Technology Architecture Advisory Committee has put together the Research Data Lifecycle and Support Survey to aggregate both challenges and best practices around the storage and lifecycle of data associated with academic research. The results will be shared with the communities that contribute. Aggregate data and identified challenges will be presented to the research funding agencies for their awareness, and, where appropriate, action will be taken to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of investments in research. Please circulate the survey among your colleagues who support research.
  • Speaking of data and research, Internet2 is working with our global NREN partners to encourage the major cloud providers to increase the discount for or to even eliminate data egress charges for data that passes through our national research and educational networks. To assist us in advocating for this important effort, we would like to better get an understanding of:
    • The number of research projects that are now, due to the cost of data egress, not using or considering cloud
    • The size (expected spend) of these projects
    • The size of the data which is likely to be needed to be extracted at the end
    • This does not need to be a comprehensive review of your operation. If you know of any project that is/was considering cloud, but just find the egress fees too daunting or even just too unpredictable, please let me know.

If you are able to share this information, send your responses to me at bflynn@internet2.edu. Every answer provided will be made anonymous, and every answer will go towards helping make the case to the cloud vendors to reduce or eliminate these fees.

The 2024 Higher Education Cloud Forum will take place at Stanford University from April 30–May 2, 2024. This year’s Forum is already shaping up to be special. We will have several community-nominated research presentations, a panel discussion on supporting researchers’ work in the cloud, and a workshop on FinOps. The core content though, comes from you, the higher ed cloud community. The Call for Proposals for Cloud Forum 24 is open until November 27. Please submit a proposal. We want to hear what you have been working on!

Logos displayed horizontally for Internet2 cloud, google cloud, aws, and kion.

Got Ideas, Questions, or Suggestions? Let Us Know!

Please reach out to netplus@internet2.edu if you want to find out more about the  community calls, want to be involved in an advisory board, are interested in one of the services, or just have a question or suggestion! We’re also interested in new NET+ services if you have any suggestions. 

Thank you for being part of the NET+ IPS community, the best NET+ community. OK, I know I’m not supposed to say that, but you really put the sunshine in my cloud!