One year after the launch of the OCRE Catalogue, a tool favouring the access to commercial cloud services by researchers and research institutions in Europe, the benefits of adopting cloud-based solutions are becoming more tangible.
Throughout the various press releases and articles produced by users and providers of the cloud services available through the OCRE Framework Agreements in the last year, five clear trends have emerged.
Digital transition is one of the priorities of the European Union, having received 20% of the total NextGenerationEU funding. The migration to the cloud and other interconnected infrastructures therefore represents an important element in the Union's strategy, aimed at creating a secure and attractive single market for data sharing, access and storage. Accelerating cloud adoption becomes relevant in the European research and education communities as well. In this domain, OCRE is cited as one of the initiatives that can favour the migration to cloud environments.
Some service providers listed in the OCRE Cloud Catalogue stress that their solutions and platforms are already leveraged in numerous European initiatives. For instance, Orange Business Services is providing its trusted public cloud platform, named Flexible Engine, within the OCRE project. At the same time, Flexible Engine’s infrastructure is part of the sovereign offers included in the GAIA-X ecosystem which was set up to develop and promote common requirements for a transparent and interoperable European data infrastructure. The previous knowledge and expertise acquired in related European initiatives by the providers can be leveraged to offer better services empowering users’ research capabilities.
Joining the OCRE initiative has stimulated some partnerships among providers of cloud services. One example is given by Sparkle (controlled by TIM) and Google. Within the OCRE Framework, Sparkle will indeed act as an integrator of Google Cloud to offer cloud solutions and professional services in 27 of the countries reached by the OCRE project where the company operates.
Despite being intrinsically connected to the cloud technological domain, the OCRE framework grants access to an extended array of services relying on multiple digital technologies, including but not limited to Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things, and Quantum Technologies.
Most of the documents currently available are focused on discussing the benefits of relying on OCRE, citing some use cases of first adopters, such as:
The main cited benefits across the listed examples regard greater agility in the contracting phase, time and money savings, lower risks thanks to the due diligence conducted by OCRE on contracts, and advantages from the single sign-on mechanisms allowing the use of home institutions’ credentials to access the portals of cloud providers active in the framework.