Compiling the SURFnet annual report is in full swing. Erwin Bleumink gives a quick preview with a summary of highlights for SURFnet during 2014, presenting the most important developments and achievements.
Over the past year we prepared ourselves well for the future. SURF was restructured and a new Long-Term Plan was drawn up, there was a European merger, we tested demand-driven service development and moved to new offices in the centre of Utrecht. From this central location, which we share with SURF and SURFmarket, we continue to ensure that students, lecturers, researchers and staff members can continue working and collaborating simply, reliably and limitlessly with the best possible ICT facilities. From 2015 that will also include teaching & ICT.
SURF as a cooperative association
In order to strengthen the cooperation between higher education institutions within SURF it was decided in 2014 to restructure the organisation. On 18 December, SURF’s Council of Representatives unanimously voted to convert the SURF Foundation into a cooperative association. This new structure gives the the institutions clarity about the responsibilities of the SURF operating companies and allows for direct and transparent management at SURF. At the same time cooperation between the operating companies is stimulated, with each retaining its respective strengths.
MBO joining SURF
In 2014 SURF membership was opened to senior secondary vocational education (MBO) institutions. This means that MBO institutes can not only connect to our network (they could already do so), but they may now also make use of our other services, like SURFconext and SURFdrive. As a member of SURF they can also purchase licences for software, content en cloud services from SURFmarket, and they can participate in formulating SURF policy. As a result of Kennisnet also being active alongside SURFnet in the MBO sector, our collaboration with Kennisnet has been strengthened in recent years.
In order to strengthen collaboration between the national research networks, the Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association (TERENA) and the European implementing body DANTE merged, forming the GÉANT Association. This was an initiative of the European national research and education network organisations. I was one of the initiators of the merger process and am now a member of the board of the new organisation. International cooperation gained impetus with the transatlantic 100 Gbit/ connection for education and research, which became available as a service in 2014. This addresses the growing demand for bandwidth from specialised research organisations.
More focus on services for the institutions
At the initiative of the institutions we explored and developed services that provide support for their ICT departments. Examples of this are wireless Internet on campus (Wireless as a Service) and the end-user service SURFdrive, a service we developed together with SURFsara. Our first experiences gave us a taste for more, and we are now exploring several cloud services with the institutions and other SURF divisions. Institutions increasingly look to us for coordination. This raises an important question at SURFnet: what should we do ourselves and what should we leave to the market?
Security, privacy and reliability
In 2014 all SURF activities in the area of security, privacy and reliability were bundled into a single portfolio. This resulted in us including SURFaudit as a service in the basic package. On account of the importance of privacy and security, one of the measures we took in 2014 was to intensify collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre. The year also saw the launch of the National Response Network and the National Detection Network, making it possible to respond quickly and effectively to large-scale cyber security incidents.
The knowledge and experience of SURFnet can also be of benefit to institutions outside the secondary vocational, higher professional and academic education sectors, which is why we pro-actively disseminate our knowledge and experience. A good example of this is the Government Roaming Nederland foundation, in which various of our staff are involved. Last year SURFnet was also one of the co-initiators of the Digital Infrastructure Nederland foundation, the mouthpiece of and point of contact for the Dutch digital infrastructure sector. We were also involved in a pilot for a new eID system and initiated discussions with parties in government responsible for ICT.
Erik Huizer in Internet Hall of Fame
Finally I would like to mention that Erik Huizer has been admitted to the prestigious Internet Hall of Fame for his ‘contribution to the growth, connectivity and use of the Internet’. This is a feather in our cap at SURFnet, underlining that our contribution to national and international Internet development is appreciated. Together with other organisations we continue to work towards a safe, open, accessible and advanced Internet.