Cloud federation at cross-regional level
Wide range of research communities requiring distributed cloud computing and storage resources as well as advanced services.
In April 2016, the European Commission (EC) issued a communication on “European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe” (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/communication-europea...). Via this communication, EC also laid out a blueprint for development of cloud-based services and world-class data infrastructure to ensure science, business and public services reap benefits of big data. In EC vision, EOSC aspires to provide a virtual environment with free, open and seamless services for storage, management, analysis and re-use of research data, across borders and scientific disciplines.
As a first step, EC identified a need to create a baseline European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) for European researchers and their global scientific collaborators by integrating and consolidating e-infrastructure platforms, federating existing scientific clouds and research infrastructures, and supporting the development of cloud-based services. The two biggest existing federated pan-European e-Infrastructures (encompassing computing and storage/data infrastructures), EGI Federation (https://www.egi.eu/federation/) and EUDAT Collaborative Data Infrastructure (https://www.eudat.eu/eudat-collaborative-data-infrastructure-cdi), have joined forces with INDIGO-DataCloud to put together a proposal (EOSC-Hub) to the EC which focuses on creation and integration of a management system (the Hub) of the future European Open Science Cloud that delivers a catalogue of services, software and data from these infrastructures as well as other major research e-Infrastructures.
The main aim is to set up this EOSC-Hub as a one-stop-shop for researchers to discover, access, use and reuse a broad spectrum of resources for advanced research. The EOSC-Hub aspires to provide scientific communities and users access to services supporting their scientific discovery and collaboration across disciplinary and geographical boundaries. It will also provide ability to co-design solutions with end-users via Competence Centres, and its Joint Digital Innovation Hub will engage industry/SMEs, service providers and researchers to work jointly on business pilots and market take-up. Finally, EOSC-Hub will improve knowledge and skills of its wide user base by providing a broad training and education programme. EOSC-hub deploys mature technical solutions (Technology Readiness level 8 – already in production) and addresses the need for federation and interoperability by promoting the adoption of open standards and protocols.
EOSC-Hub will federate e-Infrastructures encompassing 300 data centres worldwide and 18 pan-European infrastructures: as such, it is a first big step towards the implementation of the European Open Science Cloud. Although EOSC is envisaged a European infrastructure, it should be globally interoperable and accessible. Thus, the upcoming EOSC-Hub and the related initiatives are keen to support global collaboration. Cloud-based service providers form Brazil and Latin America will be welcome to advertise their services, which are open to cross-border research, via EOSC-Hub service catalogue which is envisaged to be operational in early 2018. Thus, both service providers and researchers from Brazil will have an opportunity to federate and collaborate across borders and have access to a wide-ranging set of services for data-driven research. Currently, for cloud-specific service provisioning in a federated manner, the EGI federated cloud provides a blueprint (policies, procedures, integration software) that can be adopted outside Europe for the support of international research communities which need distributed cloud resources.