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Understanding the NET+ Infrastructure and Platform Services Program

Mar 23, 2015, by Andrew Keating
Tags: Amazon Web Services, Azure, Internet2 NET+, Office 365 Education

For several months now, Internet2 members have participated in discussions to establish a unified NET+ Infrastructure and Platform Services Program. The community’s goals for a successful program included harnessing aggregation discounts based on scale to accrue to the service users on campus and lowering cost with greater participation. This work has resulted in an immediate opportunity for substantial individual institution and total community benefit signing up by April 30, 2015. More information on this opportunity and other specifics of the program can be found in this blog post and on the program webpage.

In order to balance the need for community cost recovery and program financial sustainability as well taking into account community feedback and attempting to balance as many competing tactics as possible, the new approach for these services has a single annual access fee per institution, with discounted pricing flowing directly to the users of the service. Internet2 received feedback from many community members who requested that rather than an overall flat fee they instead wanted an a-la-carte option for participating campuses that would continue to pass on cost savings as volume increased. Campuses were also very concerned about ensuring the model would enable trials and pilots of cloud infrastructure with low barrier to entry and an ability to exit a service after a period of time.

This flat rate fee, based on a campus’s Internet2 membership level, is designed to cover the community’s ongoing costs associated primarily with NET+ Infrastructure and Platform services. Costs of a community-driven initiative like this can be substantial and ongoing, and include program management and operation, maintaining and expanding network peering, legal agreement development and updating, supporting workshops and activities associated with existing programs, and providing the foundation for future Inquiry or Research Incubator projects with new or add-on services.

In order to achieve meaningful service discounts, aggregating the total community spending on these services becomes a necessity while passing through 100% of those savings to the end consumer of the service (whether that be the Campus, Individual Researchers, Faculty, Students, etc.). In cases where the core service is offered at no cost to the higher education community in large part due to the community’s advocacy (e.g. NET+ Office 365), program costs of the service still remain and value is added through continual community investment in features such as additional support options.

Responding to the many community perspectives and the need for program sustainability, the NET+ Infrastructure and Platform Services Program was created to provide community benefits including:

  • A master Participation Agreement and simpler per service Participation Schedules.
  • One setup fee and a consistent a-la-carte annual Access Fee across eligible services.
  • Additional discounts based on growth of the program, where the Access Fee will decrease when the milestones of 100, 200, and 300 participants are reached for each service.
  • A 90 day Access Fee waiver for all services.

In recognition of the many months of work by member service validation campuses, and the many campuses that have waited for this program to implement an institutional solution for AWS, a special launch program is available for Internet2 member campuses. The aforementioned opportunity by April 30, 2015 includes a special, one-time 1-year waiver of the Access Fee for the first service added under the program for any campus that has participated in at least one NET+ Service Validation during the last 36 months.

As these approaches continue to evolve and the community increasingly uses and validates existing and new cloud infrastructure services through the NET+ initiative, input and feedback is vital and welcomed.

Please contact netplus@internet2.edu with any questions whatsoever.

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