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23 April 2012
New pilot project to extend TERENA's cloud activities
TERENA is investigating cloud services with a new pilot project.

TERENA has launched the Trusted Cloud Drive pilot project. This will explore possible deployment scenarios for a trusted cloud storage service for NRENs (national research and education networks).

The pilot will be built upon an existing federated software platform, the 'cloud broker facility'. This open software was developed in 2010 as part of the NEON project and with the purpose of separating storage data (i.e. encrypted content) from metadata (i.e. encryption keys, filenames, file size, dates, etc.). This allows easy connection of both private and public storage back-ends and storage of users’ data in a secure and privacy-preserving way.

The cloud broker facility will be installed at the TERENA Secretariat and connected to a limited-storage back-end offered by TERENA. Once this first phase is successfully completed, NRENs will be invited to participate, either by adding their own cloud storage back-end and / or developing new front-end applications to the cloud broker. During this phase NRENs will be able to perform testing through a limited number of end users, to provide feedback on the usability of the system and to help shape and understand the type of service users will ultimately be looking for.

The pilot project investigates: longer-term sustainability for a potential service; legal aspects and perceived trust issues related to storage and management of encryption keys and metadata; and software scalability and performance.

The system installation and technical documentation are due in May 2012, a description of the service models will follow in January 2013, and a final report with an evaluation of the pilot and recommendations will conclude in March 2013.

Background

Since 2010, TERENA has been actively looking into how NRENs can offer cloud services. The TERENA Task Force on the Management of Service Portfolios (TF-MSP) has investigated business aspects of NRENs offering clouds or cloud brokerage services. The Task Force on Storage covers more technical aspects, providing a forum for exchanging and promoting ideas and identifying techniques, procedures and best practices, as well as fostering collaborations among NRENs on the topic of data storage, data management, and cloud storage. At the pan-European level, TERENA is also leading the ASPIRE foresight study, which includes the adoption of cloud services within the research and education community.

TERENA has developed a strategy in the area of clouds and cloud service adoption by NRENs; it is divided into four key points:

  • provide support and coordination for NRENs in submitting proposals in response to European Commission and other calls;
  • develop a pilot activity for NRENs to experiment and gain experience with clouds and applications;
  • contribute to the ASPIRE study on the adoption of cloud services by the community;
  • agree, document and disseminate information on best practice in the area of clouds and cloud services.

Further information

More information about the pilot can be found on the TERENA Trusted Cloud Drive Wiki page.

More information on TERENA's activities regarding clouds and cloud services, can be found on the Cloud Services and Activities web page.