More than 18 million students, staff and researchers at institutions across the UK could start to benefit from a faster and more secure connection when using their institution’s cloud-based IT services, thanks to a new peering arrangement between Microsoft and Janet, the UK’s research and education network.
This new agreement enables improved access to infrastructure and application services such as websites, virtual learning environments and research projects. Janet has recently become part of the Jisc group, the UK’s champion for digital technology in research and education.
Connecting the networks privately eliminates the need to traverse data over the public internet. This enables a high bandwidth connection for students and staff to use Windows Azure. Bandwidth is managed, ensuring high-speed delivery with no delay or latency.
The move to peer the Microsoft Windows Azure data centre to the Janet network comes as part of a new strategic agreement between the two organisations, being signed at Goldsmiths, University of London on 21 May 2013.
Professor Anne Trefethen, Chief Information Officer, University of Oxford: “In the UK, higher education institutions are fortunate to have high speed network services as provided by Janet. The capability afforded by Janet’s peering with Microsoft’s Azure Cloud with high-bandwidth secure connections creates new opportunities for researchers and the University community as a whole.”
Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University Paul Watson comments: “Cloud computing has the potential to revolutionise research by offering vast compute resources on-demand. At Newcastle University, we already have over £20M of research projects that are supported by the cloud. However, one of the major barriers holding back further cloud adoption is the time it takes to transfer large datasets from the lab to the cloud for analysis. This new link between Janet and the Azure Cloud removes this barrier, and will allow a far greater range of research projects to fully exploit the benefits of cloud computing.”
The alliance agreement also means any UK education institution can benefit from standard terms and conditions on Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity software suite Office 365, negotiated by Janet.
An early beneficiary of this arrangement is Goldsmiths, which is also one of a select group of institutions responsible for initiating work on the alliance. Basem El-Haddadeh, Director of IT Services at Goldsmiths said: “The work on Office 365 will save the sector considerable time and money in legal due diligence and speed up adoption of Office 365. We’re really pleased with the roll-out at Goldsmiths and our staff and students are already enjoying using the new system. I’m looking forward to the benefits the strategic alliance can bring.”
“Through the peering and strategic alliance, we are demonstrating our commitment to UK research and education institutes’ increasing desire to access cloud technologies and we are complementing our world class fibre network with Microsoft’s leading technologies to support the sector,” said Dan Perry, Director of Product and Marketing at Janet.
Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft Ltd said: “We are delighted to be working with Janet to provide additional value-added products and services to the research and education community. We have a long-standing relationship with this sector and are looking forward to more collaborative working with Janet to grow our offering.”