AARNet engineers work at the forefront of research and development, collaborating with their global peers to create new cloud storage services that allow groups of researchers to share, transfer and synchronize data in simple but powerful ways.
The key milestone of the OpenCloudMesh (OCM) project was reached during the Cloud Services for Synchronisation and Sharing (CS3) workshop, organised by CERN on 18-19 January 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. This was the first demonstration of the Federated Cloud Sharing interface of ownCloud server (v8.x) between four independent administrative sync&share service domains. This demonstration is a key step towards open sharing of data across multiple platforms.
“Our vision is to create a file-based sync&share ecosystem similar to email. Emails can be exchanged regardless of the various mail servers and clients used world-wide. This is what we have to achieve with data too.” – Christian Schmitz, ownCloud Inc.
During the OCM demonstration, users were able to sync and share files and folders between independent service domains operated by University Münster in Germany, University Vienna in Austria, SWITCH, the national research and education networking (NREN) organisation of Switzerland and AARNet the NREN of Australia.
OpenCloudMesh (OCM) is a joint international initiative co-managed by GÉANT, CERN and ownCloud Inc. with the vision to define an open standard-based protocol that takes universal file access beyond the borders of individual clouds and into a globally interconnected mesh of research clouds without sacrificing any of the advantages in privacy, control and security that on-premises cloud provides.
Facilitated by a framework agreement between GÉANT and ownCloud Inc., almost 400.000 users in the GÉANT community have privileged access to the national or institutional sync&share services built on the Enterprise Edition of the ownCloud software. On the global scale, ownCloud usage has recently crossed the threshold of 8 million users.
“With the OpenCloudMesh federation, the global NREN community is building something that has the potential to reach tens of thousands if not millions of users in the R&E space, with a single interoperable service. Users value the trusted, privacy-protected environment, the low latency, and the easy integration of desktop tools that are not provided by public cloud.” – Guido Aben, AARNet
The demonstration at CS3 is the first step of many towards an open standard. The next phase of the OCM project aims to refine many technical aspects of the protocol including authorisation, security, server discovery, and data path issues to ensure the end-to-end quality of service.
“Open standards are very important in the research environment. An open standard would directly benefit the users of different on-premise sync&share solutions by giving them a possibility to easily exchange their data, across administrative and technological domains. We have to make sure that discussions are initiated with the major standardisation bodies and also to engage all interested sync&share product vendors as early as possible.” – Jakub T. Moscicki, CERN
“Openness is the key value of GÉANT and all OCM project participants are committed to the open discussion, design and development of the OCM protocol. Voluntary contributions are appreciated by the entire community for the benefit of global research and education.” – Peter Szegedi, GÉANT
The next OCM demonstration and key milestone is expected at this year’s networking conference, TNC16, which will be held in Prague, Czech Republic on 12-16 June 2016. In the meantime, all interested parties are invited to participate in the OCM project.
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