So why the hesitation from research and education in adopting Cloud services more widely? One concern is that the payment structures offered by Cloud providers are too unpredictable, leading to fear of large bills particularly from 'data egress' - the cost of data coming off Cloud provider services onto the internet. Given the vast - and growing - amount of data being moved around by research and education users, this large variable cost is a genuine concern - particularly when financial models are often dictated by funding rounds.
Therefore the decision of Amazon Web Services, following extensive consultation with Jisc and GEANT, to waive data egress charges represents what could be an important step towards widespread adoption by the R&E community of Cloud services in Europe.
Commenting on this milestone, GEANT CEO Steve Cotter stated: "This represents a step-change in the procurement and delivery of Cloud services for the over 50 million users of GEANT and our European national network partners. This will also help maximise the growth of our European Digital Economy, as the increased adoption of Cloud services will improve the quality and impact of science and widen the participation in research and innovation. We greatly value the collaboration with our partners in research and education and with Amazon, to bring this benefit to the GEANT community."
Amazon Web Services is part of GEANT's Cloud catalogue - a growing resource for the European research and education community with a structured listing of over 15 service providers and 25 different Cloud services. It provides NRENs with a quick and easy guide and aims to clarify the capabilities of providers and their capabilities, helping in the procurement of Cloud services.