OCRE actively engages European NRENs to play an important role in aggregating demand and ensuring that institutions across Europe will benefit from volume discounts and adoption funding offered in OCRE. 

GÉANT recommends NRENs to create a unique web-page on the NREN’s website with a list of their participating institutions and submitting the URL to GÉANT for the tender documents. It is the responsibility of the NREN to ensure that this URL is reachable until the OCRE framework ends.
 

Contents
How OCRE Tenders Work
NRENs as Buyer Groups
NRENs in OCRE
Adoption Funding
FAQ for NRENs

 

How OCRE Tenders Work

Based on its requirements gathering activities, OCRE will launch tenders that will be conducted in accordance with the 2014/24/EU procurement directive and will result in framework agreements with all suppliers who qualify (a portfolio of services). 

The framework agreements will be valid for four years until 2024 and will be signed by GÉANT. This ensures availability beyond the OCRE project duration. The providers selected in the tenders will become an integral part of the EOSC service catalogue and will be connected to the GÉANT data network and the community’s single sign-on (SSO) systems, bringing them into the heart of the research community’s ICT ecosystem!

 

NRENs as Buyer Groups

To achieve favourable conditions of use with the suppliers, it is important to bring scale and concrete commitment on the demand side. OCRE prepares to do so through two types of buyer groups:
  1. Location-based: Groups where the coordinator represents a broad community of research and education institutions: a broad (inter)national buyer group.
  2. Domain-based: Groups where the coordinator bundles institutions from a research domain.

OCRE requires an efficient delivery channel and will, therefore, fold demand into the largest possible groups, by pointing institutions to buyer groups and smaller buyer groups to larger buyer groups. 

In practice, this means that:

  • When a single institution requests OCRE to be included in the tender, OCRE will point this institution to its NREN or to a research-domain-specific buyer group, to be included.
  • When a buyer group requests OCRE to be included in the tender, OCRE will assess whether this group represents the largest scale and/or most explicit commitment, or whether there is another larger buyer group in place, where this group can become a part of, to bundle demand.

 

Roles

OCRE will aggregate demand through the concept of “buyer groups”: Institutions gathering in groups, behind a coordinating organisation. This coordinator will play an important role during the tender preparation by:
  • Gathering the needs of organisations: which services are in demand and which requirements does the group have?
  • Aggregating demand: what is the expected level of usage of this group?
  • Ensuring participating institutions are listed in the tender documentation. European public procurement legislation requires organisations who want to be able to use the results of a tender, to be known in advance, to suppliers considering responding to this tender.

After the OCRE tender is completed and the framework agreements are available, the buyer group coordinator will be involved in the service consumption as well, by:

Making the contracts available to the group members (similar to the ‘Referrer’ role in the GÉANT 2016 IaaS tender)
Acting as a lead buyer (optional), where the coordinator purchases services from suppliers and then distributes the acquired resources to the group members (similar to the 'Underwriter' role in the GÉANT 2016 IaaS tender).

Legal Aspects

Below is an overview of the law forms and jurisdictions for the tender, framework agreements and call-off agreements. 
 

  LAW FORM Jurisdiction
Tender Open Procedure under the
Dutch Public Procurement Act (Aanbestedingswet 2012, rev. 2016)

NL procurement authority

Reasoning: Brexit. GÉANT Association
 in Amsterdam
Framework Agreement Contract law of Ireland
(Common Law)
Amsterdam

Call-Off Agreement

Reasoning: English and Irish law are Common Law, the most practical international common legal language. Avoids interpreting national legislation per NREN country.

Country of Institute

 

 

NRENs in OCRE

In early and mid-2019 OCRE reached out to its NREN network through GÉANT and gathered expressions of interest to be included in the OCRE Tender. This resulted in 39 countries being covered through their respective NRENs.  See the list of NRENs in the OCRE Tender.

These NRENs became national 'buyer groups', with the NREN acting as coordinator of this group. These national buyer groups are then classified into three levels based on their commitment:

Level 1 (minimum level): Ensure institutional inclusion

These buyer groups incorporate institutions as potential beneficiaries in the tender, with a list of named organisations. NRENs who depend heavily on governing bodies, such as ministries, are advised to include these institutions in the list of interested parties. 
Being mentioned does not constitute any type of formal commitment for institutions to purchase services through the frameworks. It is simply an expression of interest.
 

Level 2: Accurately present the scope and depth of demand

These buyer groups specify the expected usage by this national buyer group: expected number/percentage of institutions to pick up the offerings, for each service type. This is to provide a realistic view of expected usage.
 

Level 3: Volume Commitment

Adoption Funding

 

FAQ for NRENs

Tender

 

Which governing law will the tender be conducted under?

Due to the risk of a coming Brexit, GÉANT Association is now solely registered in Amsterdam. The OCRE tender will be conducted under the procurement law of the Netherlands (NL), called AW12. This procurement law conforms to EU procurement directive 2014/24/EU with some national implementation specifics.

Specifically, which paragraph and clause in NL procurement law govern the "naming" or "identifying" of procuring institutions? Guidance by OCRE on how an NREN can correctly do this.

The reference to naming or identifying institutions is not further specified in the letter of the law. However, it is the considered assessment of the tender team and advisors familiar with NL procurement practice that the submission of a list of named institutions is required. GÉANT recommends NRENs to create a unique web-page on the NREN’s website with a list of their participating institutions and submitting the URL to GÉANT for the tender documents. It is the responsibility of the NREN to ensure that this URL is reachable until the OCRE framework ends.

In what way and under which circumstances can NRENs modify the “naming” or “identification” of their institutions after the tender?

(As of October 2019) It is the considered assessment of the GEANT tender team that minor updates to the list, (i.e. due to some institutions joining/leaving/changing) can be made during the lifetime of the tender as long as this does not substantially affect the potential market size visible to service suppliers.

What are possible consequences if something goes wrong at these points in tender execution? Risk/likelihood assessment for NRENs/GÉANT/OCRE tender.

The plausible error scenario here involves an institution making a call-off from the framework and a different supplier (within or outside the framework) disputing the institution’s eligibility to consume under the framework. This will most plausibly take the form of a complaint communicated to the institution and this should be reasonably handled from there. Such a complaint represents a risk to the tender-compliance of that call-off transaction but is unlikely to threaten the country-specific framework contract involved, nor the validity of the tender as a whole. As long as the above guidance for clearly identifying consuming institutions is followed by the NREN, the likelihood of a complaint against an institutional call-off is considered to be very low.

What is the scope of institutions an NREN may nominate for the OCRE tender?.

(as of Oct. 2019) The intent of OCRE is to procure services for the institutions represented by the NRENs. The exact types of institutions admissible under OCRE are not further restricted explicitly.

What is the scope of the services to be procured under OCRE?

(as of Oct. 2019) The scope of OCRE’s first cloud service tender is IaaS+ services, i.e. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) with Platform and Software services (PaaS, SaaS) that address reasonable support functions for IaaS installations or address institutional and research-focused data processing, compute and storage needs. IaaS+ services must be available in the respective platform’s marketplace and implemented and operated by the IaaS provider on their infrastructure. That means Azure, AWS and GoogleCloudPlatform-branded services are in, third-party SaaS services hosted e.g. in AWS are out. There will also be an “Earth Observation” tender for Copernicus satellite data processing services built on the DIAS platform.
There will most likely be an additional tender for document-centric productivity and collaboration SaaS services.

"Services like colocation are out of scope." Examples?

Colocation describes the hosting in a datacentre of customer-owned and -supplied hardware. This is out of scope here, as all OCRE services are based on IaaS.