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Janet Launches Education Cloud Framework

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The education and research network Janet intends to boost the shift toward cloud-based services and infrastructure

Janet, the government-funded education and research network, has selected eight suppliers for its first cloud infrastructure framework.

The framework will offer a wide range of services including co-location, private and hybrid cloud services and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to Janet-connected organisations such as higher education institutions.

Puffing up the cloud

Janet said the framework, along with the recently created Janet Brokerage Service, is intended to spread the use of cloud computing and to help organisations save time and money. A number of universities and other public-sector bodies have already shown interest in signing up to use the framework, Janet said.

Janet Brokerage was created with the aim of helping education and research institutions to move toward off-site data centres and cloud services, and is seen as complementing G-Cloud, the cloud initiative aimed at government agencies. Chris Chant, the Cabinet Office’s director for DirectGov and Digital Engagement, recently predicted in an interview with The Guardian that Janet could soon begin serving other parts of the government, while higher-education organisations could buy services from G-Cloud.

Dell, Eduserv, Fujitsu, HP, Liberata and Localis have so far been named as suppliers to the Janet framework, with two more contracts said to be in the process of being signed.

“We’ve managed to establish a framework that is agile enough for everyone on the Janet network, in a remarkably short space of time,” said Dan Perry, head of strategic business at Janet. “Institutions are queuing up to use it, with our support, to help them move to cloud computing and data centres.”

Eduserv said the framework would expand its existing offerings to higher education, including an Education Cloud that is currently running university SaaS pilots in Oxford, Leicester and Southampton.

Key to infrastructure development

“Given our long history of helping the education sector make better use of IT, we jumped at the chance to join the new JANET framework. Institutions will be able to benefit from our infrastructure and cloud expertise and make use of our UK-based data centre, which is directly connected to the JANET network via dual 10GB links,” stated Eduserv education manager Julian Mitchell.

Tom Kelly, managing director of Logicalis UK, argued that the cloud will be key to educational institutions’ ability to continue developing their computing and storage services.

“As we have seen at Loughborough University, where £2.5 million was saved through the adoption of Logicalis’ JANET-enabled hybrid cloud solutions and services, the power of cloud to unlock money so it can be directed at where an institution needs it most, improving student experience and educational outcomes, is now not in doubt,” Kelly stated.

The government recently revealed that a G-Cloud “CloudStore” is on its way, with the aim of offering up to 1,700 cloud services from 600 suppliers. Whitehall and governmental bodies can then pick and choose what cloud services they require. The first first tranche of G-Cloud services are expected to be rolled out in February.