OCRE : cloud services for the R&E community

Published on Mon, 04/17/2023 - 11:37

OCRE (Open Clouds for Research Environnents) is a European framework agreement coordinated by GÉANT that allows your organisation to access different cloud solution offerings (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS...) from a variety of vendors and service providers. This gives your organisation easy and secure access to a wide range of commercial cloud platforms and services.

This framework agreement is beneficial in many ways, as it relieves organisations using it of much of the work involved in procurement. It also allows organisations to benefit from customised cloud solutions while benefiting from volume discounts. This is because there is no longer a need for a separate tender and the ready-to-use agreements are compliant with EU data protection legislation. In addition, you benefit from tailor-made solutions and all kinds of discounts, including volume discounts, media discounts and egress waivers.

Growing success in Belgium and Europe

Concluded in December 2022, the OCRE project has had an exceptional impact, facilitating and accelerating the consumption of commercial cloud and Earth observation (EO) services for the European research and education community. The OCRE Cloud Framework Agreement has enabled several dozen institutions in Belgium and more than 10,000 organisations in Europe to easily access a large and varied catalogue of cloud services at reduced costs. Since its launch, the OCRE framework agreement has paved the way for sustained and relentless growth in service adoption, and there are now more than 800 institutions in 26 European countries actively consuming public cloud services. The year 2022, in particular, has seen the highest figures to date, with total cumulative consumption of cloud services via the OCRE framework and its predecessor reaching €160 million, of which approximately €69 million was consumed in 2022 alone - a trend that is expected to continue to grow throughout 2023. Through open calls, mini-competitions and voucher distribution, OCRE has awarded funding for the consumption of cloud services to innovative research projects in several areas, including iCANDID 3.0 SSH FAIR Data Hub, a project that you will read more about in another article in this newsletter.

What is Belnet's role?

Within the framework agreement coordinated by GÉANT, Belnet takes on the role of referrer. This means that Belnet acts as an intermediary by making the framework agreements available in Belgium and by facilitating the purchases of the connected institutions from the suppliers. As a referrer, Belnet will receive a 3% commission on the volume purchased by each organisation from July onwards. Belnet is also involved in the preparation of the next Géant Cloud framework agreement in 2024 to defend the interests of the Belgian R&E community.

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