SWITCH has offered cloud-based infrastructure services with data storage in Switzerland since 2015 under the name SWITCHengines. It is now making an expanded cloud service portfolio available to Swiss universities that incorporates products from third-party providers. This will allow the community to benefit even more from centralised procurement.
Cloud-based services are proving increasingly popular in education and research. With this in mind, the European NREN association GÉANT conducted a pan-European tender last year for cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Framework agreements have been signed with suitable cloud service providers to build a comprehensive IaaS portfolio for the academic community at the European level that meets the high standards of the national research and education networks (NRENs) and makes it much easier for the community to access cloud resources aligned with its needs.
What GÉANT does for Europe, SWITCH does for Switzerland. SWITCH bridges the gap between third-party providers and universities, offering a full range of services under one roof. SWITCH complements its in-house IaaS solution SWITCHengines with third-party offerings. This offer can be expanded thanks to the new EU-wide framework agreements.
Letting SWITCH handle IT procurement strengthens the community’s negotiating position, resulting in more favourable terms, lightening the workload of IT departments and ensuring a clear legal and administrative framework.
The Procurement Team headed by Immo Noack collects and coordinates universities’ needs and functions as a central point of contact in respect of providers when it comes to negotiating framework agreements as well as specific terms and conditions. The terms agreed are transparent and identical for all universities. Especially for industry-standard products, it has become clear that the universities have very similar needs, so it makes sense to sign a framework agreement that they can join up to. At the same time, SWITCHprocure offers providers an opportunity to present new products or licence metrics and make new contacts with universities. Third-party providers must integrate the SWITCHaai login in all cases.