Cloud platforms for research and education unveiled


On 10 and 11 May 2021, the Restena Foundation has introduced the research and education community in Luxembourg to their dedicated cloud-based digital platforms and service providers.

On Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 May 2021, the Restena Foundation organised two days of webinars entitled 'Cloud Event for Research & Education 2.0’. The event aimed first to inform Luxembourg institutions about the possibilities of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and cloud services accessible to them since early 2021 - thanks to a framework agreement concluded on a European scale as part of the "Open Clouds for Research Environments" (OCRE) project. Second, it allowed them to get in touch directly with the providers of these services.

Commercial cloud services for all needs

Ten of the 13 cloud service platforms available in Luxembourg highlighted their offer and their specificities to an audience of about twenty participants from 14 Luxembourg institutions. They are:

  • well-known hyperscalers (Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc.);
  • regional providers (IONOS (formerly 1&1), Flexible Engine by Orange, etc.);
  • special-purpose cloud suppliers, focusing on supporting researchers and/or university/NREN IT (Exoscale, Safespring, etc.)

Having responded to the call for tenders conducted by the OCRE project on behalf of the European research and education community representing thousands of universities, research centres, schools, etc. - the platforms share common elements: 

  1. The waiver for egress traffic, with providers being invited to connect/peer with the European research backbone GÉANT.
  2. Identity management through eduGAIN / eduID Luxembourg, a single sign-on solution established on a European scale that allows authentication to thousands of services available worldwide thanks to a single password.
  3. Preferential terms and conditions.

A common IaaS and PaaS core but divergent services

As in the previous tender, active over the period 2016-2020, the core of the tender to which suppliers responded focused on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (compute, storage, network, etc.) and consulting services, with, however, some new features:

  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) activities;
  • a selection of ready-to-use services on an IaaS infrastructure, varying according to the provider, such as the IAM (Identity and Access Management) platform, managed backup or DNS hosting.

These specificities, the Restena Foundation wanted to make them discover to the research and education community so as to help them find the right tool. But this is a story to be written in the future. To define a suitable solution, interested institutions should now first contact the Restena Foundation's cloud technical team, acting as a referrer. Together, they will identify whether one or more of these platforms correspond to the institution's needs and take the next step towards a Call-Off contract.

To view or review the platforms presentation sessions recorded during the Cloud for Research & Education 2.0' event, namely Amazon AWS, AZURE, Creodias, CloudSigma, Exoscale, Flexible Engine, Google Cloud, IONOS, Safespring and Setcor Cloud, go to the dedicated event page.