“We’re in a new world of data—big data, little data,” he said. “There’s not going to be any less data over the foreseeable future.”

The company hopes to make it easier for users to collaborate across different universities. To do that, Microsoft is taking advantage of InCommon, a federated authentication mechanism giving each user a single set of log-on credentials allowing them to log onto computers in any organization that is a part of InCommon. Not all InCommon members are Internet2 members.

“It’s easier, in a lot of cases, for you to enter a foreign country than it is to log into networking in the higher education community,” Evans said.

Internet2 member universities will have access to Windows Azure to open up additional collaborative, instructional and research opportunities in the cloud.

Microsoft will waive data egress and data ingress charges for Internet2 university members, and principal investigators involved in large data initiatives, such as genomics, big data, or “the long tail of science” projects, can cut costs on bandwidth charges when moving or accessing data sets and can allocate those funds to other research-related activities.

Institutions including Florida International University, George Mason University, University of Virginia, and University of Washington, will be some of the first schools to pilot large-data management and research projects in the cloud on Windows Azure.

See also:

Internet2 bringing more cloud computing programs to campus

Kelli Trosvig, vice president and chief information officer at the University of Washington, said that data management and storage occupy too much faculty time—which could be better spent on actual collaboration or interaction with peers.

“UW faculty, using Windows Azure, have been able to introduce sophisticated data management and analysis techniques to undergraduates studying climate science and oceanography,” Trosvig said. “This agreement will open the door to Windows Azure for applications studying the human genome and other areas of strength at the University of Washington.”

Dell will offer a set of services tailored for the research community, including its Apache Hadoop framework, which, by scaling from a single computer to thousands of servers, lets users store, process, and analyze large amounts of structured and unstructured data.

John Phillips, managing director of Dell’s global education services, said the company’s data analytics and storage solutions will offer higher education institutions effective ways to manage costs and support delivery.

Those solutions are “designed with the unique needs that higher education customers face around collaborative research computing,” he said.

Dell will provide solutions and services that support the next generation of collaborative research and simplify research computing from the desktop to the data center, including:

  • Dell Virtual Desktop as a Service
  • Dell Cloud with VMware vCloud Datacenter Service
  • Dell Virtual Private Cloud (VPDC) Services

Dell is partnering with Clemson University to extend the company’s community-based management model and expand Clemson’s research and education communities.

Jim Bottum, Clemson’s chief information officer and vice provost for computing & information technology, said the partnership is the first step in broadening high-performance, data-intensive computing to more research communities.

“Reaching this broader audience aids the acceleration of research and inquiry to help solve the ever-increasing and complex problems facing society,” Bottum said. “Using Internet2’s Innovation Platform concept and emerging suite of NET+ services will allow the academic community to deploy massive resources in response to the data grand challenge.”

Participating companies include Aastra, Adobe, Box, CENIC, Dell, Desire2Learn, Duo Security, DuraSpace, Evogh, HP, Level3 Communications, Merit Network, Inc., Microsoft, Savvis–a CenturyLink Company, SHI International, and The Solution Design Group.


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