CONNECT meets Martin Bech, who chairs the Special Interest Group – Management of Service Portfolios (SIG-MSP) to talk about his role within this very dynamic group and its impact on the European Research and Education Community.
What does your involvement with SIG-MSP mean to you?
NRENs are unique, we cannot compare ourselves to other service providers in every single country in which we operate. We are unique, there are no other organisations like ours. Groups like SIG-MSP bring the community together by providing an excellent forum to learn from each other, share ideas and best practices. Groups like ours help to bring the community forward. I have been leading the Danish NREN (part of DeiC – Danish e-Infrastructure Cooperation) for many years and have been participating in SIG-MSP since its launch in 2006, under the name TF-LCPM and later TF-MSP. This group has always focussed on the management of service portfolios, which is about almost anything concerned with the development and betterment of NRENs, from the point of view of all the services that we offer.
In your opinion, what are the main achievements of this group?
We were the first to instigate the mapping of service portfolios (as a kind of standard ontology or categorisation of services) of all participating NRENs, now known as the service matrix part of the GÉANT Compendium, which has become a reference source for anyone with an interest in the development of European NRENs and the organisations behind them. We started to create the first service matrix with the objective to categorise the available services, trying to make them comparable. I like to believe that we planted the seeds for this part of the Compendium project further developed by GÉANT. We were the first group to start discussions that were subsequently expanded by the community, such as the rules of engagement for the provision of services between NRENs at an international level. Today this work is continuing as part of the rules of engagement element for the service provision section of the EOSC programme.
What are the benefits that SIG- MSP brings to the R&E community?
I will start by considering this perspective: “What would happen if our group didn’t exist?” Often a good idea and a specific need determine the creation of a service; if this group didn’t exist then probably there would be a multitude of separate, unconnected, but overlapping services across the community. Before any service becomes part of the GÉANT project or of any other collaborations between NRENs, awareness needs to be rasied and discussions need to take place. I can proudly say that as a group we’ve been able to start some discussions that became precursors to many international initiatives and collaborations. We strive to align, unify and make the communty aware of all available services. For me an example of the beneficial role played by SIG-MSP coincides with the instance when representatives from the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) approached us for advice on how to improve and increment the adoption of this service in a variety of countries. What I really love about this group is its openness. We are constantly trying to bring on board new blood and new participants who don’t even need to be part of NREN management. To join this group you just need to be interested in new services and in the future of your NREN.