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Internet2 Moves Cloud Connect Service from Pilot to Launch

cloud with arrows and data streams

Internet2 has moved beyond its piloting of "Cloud Connect" and made it generally available to members that want direct access to major cloud services. Specifically, the service works with Amazon's AWS Direct Connect, Google Cloud Dedicated Interconnect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute. It's been in testing for 16 months with 50-plus university campuses and 20 regional research and education networks.

The offering is intended to make it easier for researchers to access and use cloud resources with "direct peering," the ability to exchange traffic at particular sites without having to use a third party to carry the traffic across the internet. This is useful, the organization said, in situations where an institution wants to extend its data center into the cloud using private address space or its own public address space. The sites that are part of this arrangement are in four cities: Ashburn, VA; Chicago; Dallas; and San Jose, CA. Through the use of an application programming interface, subscribers can gain access to 200-gigabit-per-second private peering to the major cloud providers.

Internet2 already offers access to 800 Gbps of public peering capacity through its Internet2 Peer Exchange (I2PX) service, for those schools that don't need a private network connection into the cloud.

The Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is using Cloud Connect to facilitate experiments on a testbed that extends into public clouds. Through the service, RENCI will automate the deployment of layer 2 traffic in experiments spanning National Science Foundation research cyberinfrastructure and public clouds.

"As campuses explore cloud as a way to accelerate scientific discovery and expand academic IT services, research and education networks have a big role to play in enabling that migration," said Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services at Internet2, in a statement. "Research and education networks are already trusted partners in big science and academic IT because of the transparency, security and support they bring to campus collaborators. The partnership of research and education regional networks and Internet2 to bring Cloud Connect to the campus doorstep as part of our existing services is yet another value-add to our unique partnership in enabling the research and education ecosystem."

While Cloud Connect is part of what's available to members of Internet2 as well as members of the regional research and education networks without additional charges, the service doesn't cover fees imposed by the cloud provider for use of their service or the dedicated private links used by a campus.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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