Report: The future of cloud computing

In October 2015, we launched the first in a series of reports from our horizon scanning project, looking at the future of cloud computing. This provided an explanation of key cloud computing terminology and technologies, with a summary of the state of the art and how Jisc has helped institutions to engage with the cloud.

The report went on to propose “three big ideas” for how Jisc could help the sector in future:

  • Cloud as a utility – we proposed that Jisc should work with the sector and public cloud providers to make it easier for institutions to switch between cloud providers and to migrate workloads between the public and private clouds, leveraging public investment in the Janet network
  • App as a service – smartphones and tablets have established a culture of ‘package once, install a billion times’, but our colleges and universities still commonly package common applications separately and independently for distribution to users. This is inefficient and it diverts highly skilled IT staff from activities that could genuinely add value., but perhaps we can find a way to `package once’
  • Building capability – institutional practice and experience with cloud technologies is still quite variable. We believe there is a need to come together to share our experiences of what works, building capability at institutions and identifying areas where further intervention would be helpful

You can find out more about the future of cloud computing report from our introductory podcast. To follow up on the themes raised in the report, we held an invitation only “think tank” meeting with leading cloud providers and institutions, which is summarised in this blog post and podcast interviews with delegates including representatives of Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The results of this work have been fed into Jisc cloud strategy development, and led directly to a decision by AWS to remove egress charging for researchers downloading data from their public cloud.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this increasingly vital topic, so please do send us feed back – either directly to the authors, or via the #jiscfutures hashtag on social media.

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