The service portfolio management special interest group, SIG-MSP, takes service sharing to the next level.

Like apples hanging from a branch, each of the topics raised in the March meeting of SIG-MSP provided juicy food for thought while being connected by a common bough – a shared community approach to services.

In a joint meeting with the marketing communications special interest group SIG-Marcomms, participants responded to plans for the GÉANT community to gather its existing services alongside those of other e-infrastructures in a single catalogue, as part of the move towards a European Open Science Cloud. The eInfraCentral project to make one central portal of services funded by the European Commission was considered in a breakout group brainstorming session, which provided rich feedback.

With a view towards future services that national research and education network (NREN) organisations may want from GÉANT, the groups discussed requirements with inspiration provided in the form of lightning talk ‘wish lists’ from DeIC and SURFnet. Chief among the wishes was that GÉANT will support a shared community approach by aggregating demand, drafting requirements, managing joint tendering and procurement, and facilitating joint delivery of services under ‘white labels’.

Shaun Cairns (GÉANT) and Robert Hackett (HEAnet) both gave presentations at the Poznan SIG-MSP meeting.

An update on cloud services and ongoing IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) tender developments within the GÉANT Project provided a good model of community service aggregation, procurement and delivery, participants felt. In this approach, every NREN has had the chance to be involved in service development building blocks and able to decide if and how to offer it, while NRENs that didn’t join the tendering process could still join in at a later stage. With NRENs able to take different relationships between their customers and suppliers, examples were presented of HEAnet acting as a ‘referrer’ and SURFnet as a ‘reseller’.

In a presentation about the Polish IaaS model, PSNC explained why it didn’t join in the GÉANT tender. CSC presented its plans to evolve its network to ‘Funet2020’, with a renewed focus on understanding customer needs. And RedIRIS KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) were explored as part of a larger discussion about what NRENs should most usefully be measuring and reporting about their services and performance. It was agreed to revisit this subject in more detail in future meetings to reach shared solutions on ‘low-hanging fruit’.

SIG-MSP & SIG-Marcomms participants were treated to a tour of PSNC’s laboratories, including their 16K cinema facilities.

Further information

The meeting was hosted by PSNC in Poznan on 8-9 March, co-located with a SIG-Marcomms meeting. The agenda and slides are on the SIG-MSP wiki along with links to a photo gallery kindly provided by PSNC.

The next meeting of SIG-MSP will be in Autumn 2017 – dates and location tbc.