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The smart way to access cloud applications

Many questions need to be addressed in relation to various aspects of cloud applications: strategy, procurement, migration, integration, organisational changes, legal issues, risk management and user management. SWITCH offers its knowledge on these topics to universities.

Text: Immo Noack, published on 29.09.2017

As cloud applications boom, they are becoming increasingly important for universities as well. For some institutions this is by choice, but others are simply taking into account the fact that providers are focusing more and more on cloud applications, making the switch to appropriate offerings essential. In addition, users increasingly want to access their shared data from anywhere and at any time with a ‘Bring your own everything’ cloud tool. As a result, conventional device-based applications are being systematically eclipsed. Of course, not all applications can be stored in the cloud, which is why it is advisable to assess this option on a situational basis, particularly when introducing new applications.

Overcoming challenges together

The cloud comes with its own set of challenges: What is the right strategy? How do you procure the right offer? What is the best way to then integrate it? What legal issues are there? What needs to be reorganised? The rapid development of cloud applications, with updates practically every week, is a challenge for users and IT services. Users are increasingly reliant on direct documentation and information from providers, necessitating an adaptation of conventional information trails.

Cloud applications are a good example of SWITCH’s work with communities. Universities all face more or less the same problems. Separate contracts and agreements between global providers with individual universities are hardly even possible any more, and at best should only be implemented in exceptional cases. Shared solutions are now essential. Cloud contracts, agreements and usage are common topics that require a coordinated approach. There are various options depending on the application.

SWITCH provides universities with the following services:

  • SWITCH cloud offerings
  • In addition: commercial cloud offerings from the GÉANT IaaS tender. This portfolio of services, which are distinguished by conditions that are uniform across Europe, are intended to promote IaaS cloud applications. On this website, you can find information on contact persons, support, conditions, legal issues, training, test accounts, order options and documents from all providers and resellers.
  • Higher Education Cloud Days: event platform for sharing experiences, helping users learn about solutions, providers and resellers.

With the future Community Service Hub (CSH), universities will also be able to access a shared central platform that offers certain specially selected and supported IT services, including cloud applications.

About the author
Immo   Noack

Immo Noack

Immo Noack has been in charge of the SWITCH Procurement Team since November 2012. Prior to that, he held posts at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and on the Neptun project, among others. He originally graduated in Electrical Engineering.

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Higher Education Cloud Days

The regular meetings aim to present solutions, introduce new providers and offer a platform for exchanging experiences. The meetings happen at the University of Bern. The first took place in the middle of April, the second at the end of August 2017. The next meeting is scheduled for 10 April 2018 at the University of Bern.

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