Clouds Magazine

OCRE – Moving Cloud Services to the Next Level

Cloud computing digital concept

Cloud services are an increasingly important element in many fields of research. The ability to store, process and share data makes research activities much easier and more cost-effective. A particular benefit of cloud services is that they allow resource consumption throughout a project to vary without the risk of over- or underprovisioning. At the end of the project, resources can be freed up quickly and easily.

However, research institutions often struggle to incorporate commercial digital services into their activities as the wide variety of available services makes service discovery and acquisition difficult and time consuming. This can lead to institutions deploying in-house, isolated and often monolithic services, which hamper cross-border and interdisciplinary collaboration. The Open Clouds for Research Environments (OCRE) project aims to give the European research community access to commercial digital services (IaaS, SaaS and PaaS cloud services), as well as Earth Observation (EO) services. OCRE will address the challenges service providers face in reaching and meeting the needs of the research community in areas such as legal, financial and technical compliance (including supporting standards and offering data
interoperability and portability).

OCRE will bridge the gap between the supply and demand sides, and enable and facilitate research institutions to use commercial digital services in a safe and easy manner to:

• Give the European research community easier access to commercially available digital services, with a focus on ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) and ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) projects.
• Meet the requirements of the community.
• Offer procurement models which map to the financial structures of the community and explore different consumption models.


OCRE will make these selected commercial digital services an integral part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), ensuring compliance with EOSC requirements and visibility in the EOSC-hub Service Catalogue. It will also facilitate the adoption of these services by institutions and users, and enable substantial consumption of these services. 39 NRENs have signed up to participate in the framework, which
demonstrates the relevance and value placed in this work across the R&E community.

OCRE plans to spend the majority of the funding on buying resources from the selected suppliers and distributing these amongst eligible research institutions to enable greater use of
digital services. This will help to advance the development of the European Open Science Cloud and stimulate the adoption of commercial digital services by researchers. OCRE is working
with EOSC, Eurodoc, the Marie Curie Association and ESA to help the initial funds distribution.

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