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CERN

Project Coordinator (EU) :

CERN

Organisation Type :

Research

Project participants :

Personnel from the EU team involved:

  • João Fernandes, senior member of staff of CERN IT Department, currently the director of H2020 EOSC ARCHIVER[1] project. Role: project leader.
  • Gerhard Deiters, Attorney at Law Partner BHO Legal, specializes in IT, data protection and international contract law as well as the security and defense sector, currently the data protection officer of KLEO Connect GmbH and GrapeCheck GmbH as well as the Chief Privacy Officer of the FUCHS Group. Role: responsible for the legal and contractual analysis of the CloudBank model.
  • Joshua Davison, manager of procurement activities for the IT department, the SCOAP3[2] open access publishing initiative, and several pre-commercial procurements (PCP) including the ARCHIVER project. Role: Assessment of the contractual analysis produced by BHO Legal.
  • Dr. Robert Jones, senior member of the CERN IT Department management and director of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Association. Role: responsible for the interaction with the EOSC governance and CERN management.
  • Dr. Sofia Vallecorsa, CERN physicist with extensive experience on software development in the High Energy Physics domain and member of CERN openlab. Role: Overseeing the deployment of scientific workloads in the domains of Quantum Computing, Machine Learning and Quantum Machine Learning, in the context of the CloudBank EU NGI experiment.
  • Anna Manou, project management officer at CERN IT External Projects unit. Role: Assistant on all the project management and interactions with NGI Atlantic.eu.
  • Marion Devouassoux, CERN project analyst. Role: Responsible for the estimated cost analysis of the use cases being deployed in the scope of the CloudBank EU NGI experiment.
  • Inês Cruz, software engineer at CERN experienced in designing, developing, testing and maintaining high quality software. Role: Developer of an agnostic open-source billing and cost tracking solution to enhance the CloudBank portal capabilities.
  • Lucie Pocha, member of the CERN Legal Service. Role: Responsible for the legal activity for the NGI contract, CloudBank EU NGI consortium agreement and CERN/UCSD MoU.

Personnel from the US team involved:

  • Dr. Vince Kellen, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the University of California, member of the Chancellor's Cabinet, and vice chancellor and chief financial officer's senior management team. Role: Holding public webinarson CloudBank for research sector organisations.
  • Shava Smallen, co-chair of the PRAGMA Steering Committee for the University of California and a major contributor to the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment. Role: Oversee the technical operations.

State of US partner :

California

Starting date :

CloudBank EU NGI


Experiment description

The CloudBank EU NGI experiment will accelerate the adoption of public cloud services in Europe’s public funded research sector. The experiment's transatlantic existence would promote collaboration between the US and EU research communities in their adoption of public cloud services. The legal and contractual analysis of the CloudBank model in relation to European legislation will foster trust among procurement offices of public sector research organizations such as CERN, resulting in the simplification of their in-house cloud service procurement processes and expanding the model's applicability in a broader setting in Europe. The experiment will help to create a secure, sovereign and federated European business cloud infrastructure for research users based on Interoperability, open source software and open standards, and will help to identify synergies with EU commercial data infrastructure initiatives.

The experiment CloudBank EU NGI is to extend CloudBank through the GEANT Network and EduGAIN service to the European research organizations, thereby paving the way for the introduction of European cloud service providers and the transatlantic infrastructure resulting from it to be used. There are 15 use cases that cover most phases of the research data processing workflow that have been selected for deployment from various administrative frameworks within CERN, including LHC studies, the LHC accelerator, Theory, and IT Departments. Priority has been given to use cases that allow the NGI experiment to cover a wide range of applications while limiting procurement investment and reducing any additional support effort required for CERN IT operations personnel.

The experiment will be a successful development for researchers. This alignment would encourage stronger technical collaboration between the public research sector and the private sector across Europe in a “European way” as part of a global research activity. The CloudBank EU NGI experiment will report publicly on its progress toward its objectives, lessons learned, and a recommendation on whether there is a case for expanding the model to a wider audience, as well as a proposed timeframe.

Impacts :

Impact 1: Enhanced EU – US cooperation in Next Generation Internet, including policy cooperation.
The CloudBank EU NGI experiment is fostering transatlantic cooperation and existing US-EU cooperation on networking and AAI where policy aspects are key for global transatlantic research. Examples of these impacts are the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between UCSD and CERN on the 23rd of March 2021 to establish a collaboration for cooperative development of UCSD’s existing Cloudbank software with the objective of developing future versions of CloudBank that are general-purpose, fully configurable, and open source to be used at both sites and potentially other sites.
Another example is the current already working integration of CloudBank with the CERN IdP service for Authentication and Authorization and foreseen integrations with EduGAIN Federated AAI services.

Impact 2: Reinforced collaboration and increased synergies between the Next Generation Internet and the Tomorrow's Internet programmes.
Thanks to the CloudBank EU experiment, the CloudBank model can now be proposed as an experimental platform in the NGI portfolio and made available to US and European users. This experiment represents a milestone with wide impact to launch the expansion of CloudBank usage across Europe’s research community by engaging other research performing organisations. An example of this impact is the current preparation at CERN for the
introduction of European cloud service providers into the CloudBank model where agreements are being discussed with European cloud providers that have expressed interest in integrating CloudBank EU. The objective is now to invite other research performing organizations to also participate as procurers (a few already expressed interest in probing CloudBank to manage their recently signed cloud contracts).

Impact 3: Developing interoperable solutions and joint demonstrators, contributions to standards.
The experiment will contribute to the establishment of a safe, sovereign and federated European commercial cloud infrastructure for research users, based on interoperability, open source software and open standards as measures for vendor lock-in prevention, in order to identify synergies with recent initiatives such as Gaia-X. This alignment will stimulate closer technological cooperation, in a “European way” as a part of a global research activity, between the public research sector and the private sector across Europe. A good example of this impact is the plan to integrate the EOSC test suite developed by CERN with CloudBank, to validate research requirements as wide as possible and provide researchers with working examples of deployments on different cloud environments.

Impact 4: An EU - US ecosystem of top researchers, hi-tech start-ups / SMEs and Internet-related communities collaborating on the evolution of the Internet

This NGI experiment accelerated the adoption of public cloud services in Europe’s public funded research sector. The transatlantic nature of the experiment will increase cooperation between US and EU research communities in their uptake of public cloud services. The HNSciCloud Pre-Commercial Procurement action has shown the appetite for researchers and public cloud service providers to work together, and this experiment established a platform where they can collaborate to develop innovative solutions.

 

Results :

CloudBank promotes a model for cost-effective use of cloud services where risks and impacts to research organizations are mitigated and managed. The results of the CloudBankEU experiment with CERN and UCSD during 2021 have made the case for cloud services procurement and usage for the benefit of different sectors of European research stimulating a shift of approach, where both organisations and funding bodies can contribute their own funds, in a joint-funding model.

Before CloudBank, individual researchers often provided their credit cards as a guarantee to get “free credits” from cloud providers with fragmented usage and terms of use that had not been reviewed for consistency with agreed policies and best practices. CloudBank does not intend to  replace on-site resource provisioning. Instead, it intends to complement on-site resources with capabilities and capacities that are currently not available. It will allow research organizations to centrally cope with rapid cycles of technology evoution (major technology breakthroughs usually appear on the market every 4-5 years), centrally manage multiple cloud vendors whilst providing the ability to validate and differentiate capabilities of each cloud service provider, understanding transparently its strengths and weaknesses. Researchers can benefit from this alignment as a central cloud vendor management framework to increase optimisation of cloud service usage to their research needs, being provided with working examples of deployments and expert support from cloud architects.

The model is now ready to be expanded for multiple scientific domains and procuring organizations in the European research sector. Should the “multiple buyer / multiple cloud” approach be successful, it may be a candidate to be proposed as a procurement model in the context of the European Open Science Cloud.

Future Plan :

Ultimately, CloudBank leads to a simplification of public cloud service procurement processes for the public research sector, integrating these into a hybrid computing model and facilitating a smooth transition to a modern and heterogeneous cloud infrastructure.

In addition, these developments can result in laying the foundation to establish a mechanism to extend CloudBank to European cloud providers, aligning it with the rise of European digital sovereignty and strengthening of data self-determination for publicly funded European research.

Key Results

  • Peer reviewed paper “CloudBank for Europe” in vCHEP2021 proceedings.
  • Peer reviewed paper “Accelerating GAN training using highly parallel hardware on public cloud” from the Research Leads deploying in CloudBank, in vCHEP2021 proceedings.
  • ISC’21 poster “Bursting DLaaS in the Cloud”.
  • Invited talk and panel discussion on the EOSC Symposium, session “Sustaining the EOSC” on June 17th 2021.
  • “Digital Around the World” virtual event in October 20th (US Timezone).
  • US partner press release “A match made in the Cloud”.
  • US CloudBank workshop with a presentation about ML use cases for High Energy Physics simulation.

 

NGI related Topic :

Decentralised data governance - experimentation of results

Call Reference :

2

The 30-months project NGIatlantic.eu will push the Next Generation Internet a step further by providing cascade funding to EU-based researchers and innovators in carrying out Next Generation Internet related experiments in collaboration with US research teams.




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