During a major pan-European tender for Cloud infrastructure services, the European umbrella organisation GÉANT selected a total of 23 providers. GÉANT issued the call for tenders on behalf of the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of 36 European countries. Combining the demand of the NRENs and the 10,000 institutions that they connect creates a substantial digital market where up to 500 million euro can be channelled through the framework contracts resulting from the GÉANT tender. All of the Cloud services selected satisfy national and European regulations, and the 10,000 institutions can use these services via their NREN for the next four years without needing to issue their own calls for tenders.
Cloud services are being used on an increasingly larger scale. This is also the case within education and research institutions. This sector has specific requirements and demands with regard to security, reliability, technical integration and finances. To enable institutions to use Cloud services with the right conditions, 36 European NRENs have collectively issued a call for tenders. The aim is to provide all affiliated education and research institutions with affordable, reliable and predictable IaaS services through which data can be securely shared.
Andres Steijaert, the Cloud programme manager at SURFnet, is the project leader of this pan-European tender. He stated: "It is not just security and privacy that are important to our target group. Speed, ease of access and the potential for collaboration are priorities as well. Add to this the fact that the price needs to be attractive and we have a major challenge for the market. However, the 50 million users in the European education and research sector provide enough incentive for cloud service providers to accommodate these high demands."
Erwin Bleumink, Director General of SURFnet, stated: "We are extremely pleased with this new collaboration between education and research institutions throughout Europe. This collaboration means that all Dutch higher education institutions, vocational colleges, university medical centres and research centres have easy and affordable access to secure IaaS services. As such, institutions do not have to spend time and money on finding the right provider. Institutions are now free to choose from a wide range of IaaS providers with extremely favourable conditions."