We take a brief look at the topics covered by five SWITCH employees at the TNC16 in Prague.
The theme of TNC16, taking place in Prague from 12 to 16 June, is "Building the Internet of People". With 650 people attending, it is the largest and most prestigious conference for European research networks. It is hosted by the Czech research network CESNET. SWITCH is represented by a five-strong delegation. Their presentations are summarised below.
Jens-Christian Fischer, PETA Solutions Team Leader and SWITCHengines Product Owner
SWITCH has been providing cloud-based services to the academic community for two years in the form of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). It is also working with nine institutions on the SCALE-UP project to create a range of services that can meet their needs in the cloud. Being a cloud service provider means competing with such giants as Amazon, Google and Microsoft in the hard-fought IaaS marketplace. Can this work? The presentation outlines where a research network's strengths lie and how SWITCH aligns them with universities' needs.
Renato Furter, Software Engineer responsible for, among other things, developing the application for signing up to SWITCH cloud services
SWITCH created its own cloud ID for logging into its SWITCHdrive cloud storage service. While Shibboleth was integrated into ownCloud, on which SWITCHdrive is based, this had unfortunately not been done adequately. SWITCH's solution succeeded in delivering the targeted advantages, but it also brought some disadvantages with it. The presentation gives an overview of the pros and cons, explaining the lessons learned and the plans for the future of SWITCHdrive.
Ann Harding, AAI team member at SWITCH and Activity Leader, GÉANT Trust & Identity Development
It would be possible to create a science DMZ (demilitarised zone) today using eduGAIN and AAI on the academic network. However, this concept is complex and comparatively expensive. Generally speaking, a science DMZ requires a network environment optimised for scientific applications, i.e. one that can deliver high performance, but it might also need to run administrative applications.The presentation shows what a science DMZ with AAI would look like and what benefits it would bring.
Christoph Herzog, Application Services Team Leader
In the past, the number of contacts SWITCH had to deal with in providing support was manageable, and most of them were IT specialists. Since last year, however, its new cloud services have brought it closer to end users, resulting in a massive increase in the number of people with no technical background requesting support. The presentation uses the example of the sync and share service SWITCHdrive to shed light on the support concept chosen, the communication channels used, the issue of user suggestions and SWITCH’s early experience in this respect.
Matthias Seitz, Security Engineer and Project Manager for the rollout of DNS RPZ to the Swiss academic network
SWITCH introduced the DNSfirewall service to protect university members from websites affected by phishing and malware. It is based on DNS RPZ, which adds a firewall function to the existing Domain Name System. As well as protecting university members from malicious websites, DNSfirewall identifies machines that have already been infected. Users’ requests for malicious websites are overridden, and they are redirected to an information page that explains the threat in detail in order to raise their awareness. This presentation outlines how DNSfirewall works and gives an account of SWITCH’s experience with it so far.