The UK’s education and research network Janet is seeking a datacentre partner to provide infrastructure and services in a four-year deal worth up to £60m.
Janet intends to explore the use of co-location, virtual services, infrastructure and platform-as-a-service as a way of minimising the capital outlay necessary to support its growing datacentre operations.
While the initial contract will be awarded for a four-year period, there is an option to extend this by an additional six years, subject to annual performance reviews.
Janet manages and operates the digital network that connects the UK’s higher and further education establishments.
The request for tenders, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, highlights the growing appetite for cloud services in the education sector.
In early 2011, Janet was charged with setting up a cloud service for the higher education sector, with the promise of up to £10m in funding from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC).
At that time, David Sweeney, director for research, innovation and skills at HEFC, said cloud computing will be essential for the higher education sector in the UK as it looks to maintain its reputation for first class research.
“At a time of pressure on university resources, it is critical that technology is used in a collaborative and cost-effective way, to deliver services that will benefit the sector,” he said.
An initial pilot project to set up core virtual server infrastructure capable of offering data management and storage services is being established as part of the HEFC-led project.
This pilot cloud project aims to support more than 5,000 physical servers, hosting upwards of 10,000 virtual machines, with a lower price point than currently offered by Amazon’s EC2 service.