​Martin Bech and John Dyer – the chair and secretary of TF-MSP – with Andres Steijaert at the Berlin workshop in January 2016.

TF-MSP workshop progresses thinking on policies for cloud and commercial partners 


Martin Bech and John Dyer – the chair and secretary of TF-MSP – with Andres Steijaert at the Berlin workshop in January 2016.

The GÉANT Task Force on the Management of Service Portfolios (TF-MSP) is taking the lead in helping national research and education networking organisations (NRENs) and GÉANT to be 'cloud friendly' in order to support the use of cloud services in the research and education community. Participants at a recent workshop of TF-MSP agreed that it would be advantageous for the community to have a consistent policy for connecting cloud service providers and commercial collaborators.


With the rapid growth of cloud services, the situation increasingly arises that users within one NREN are accessing cloud service providers that are connected by another NREN - frequently via the GÉANT network. This can pose challenges regarding service performance and for ensuring that the services comply with the connection policies (CPs) and acceptable use policies (AUPs) of the partner networks.


During the TF-MSP workshop, which was hosted by DFN in Berlin, Germany, on 11-12 January 2016, several NRENs presented their CPs and AUPs. Though similar in intent, these are diverse in their details and formulation. The AUP of an NREN may be affected by the legal structure within the country and also the way in which the network is provisioned and funded.


Andres Steijaert (SURFnet), who leads the GÉANT (GN4-1) Project's clouds activity, gave a presentation on cloud network peerings, joint tenders and the place of NRENs in the delivery of such services, exposing many of the issues.

Practical developments

Participants agreed that settlement-free peering agreements or connection at open exchange points are practical ways to provide the necessary network connections. The imperative is to ensure the continued integrity of the NREN and GÉANT technical and business models. Cases where one NREN has a direct connection to a commercial cloud service provider and other NREN users wish to gain access could raise issues of transit traffic between entities. Other more complex situations would need to be addressed in detail.  


Participants noted that the economic and policy issues raised in this respect must be picked up in some appropriate high-level but focused community forum.


In order that NRENs and users can be confident that the use of cloud services complies with differing policies, it is vital that NRENs and GÉANT have clear and consistent policies towards the use of clouds.


Richard Lui (GÉANT) presented developments regarding a GÉANT network AUP, which was met with appreciation by workshop participants, as an explicit and concise GÉANT AUP is expected to provide much needed clarity. The draft has yet to be ratified by the management and members and is expected to be presented to the GÉANT General Assembly during 2016.


Presentations from this workshop are available from: http://bit.do/geant-msp-2016-01


Further information

A new online location is being developed for the repository of presentations and reports gathered through themed TF-MSP meetings, which the TF-MSP chair Martin Bech (DeIC) hails as a valuable resource.

The current TF-MSP charter will expire on 28 February 2016. The group intends to seek re-charter as the special interest group SIG-MSP.