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Internet2 Cloud Connect Production Service Announced, Capabilities Support Research, Scientific Collaboration, Academic Enterprise From Campus to the Cloud

Posted on Apr 25, 2019 by Sara Aly
Tags: Advanced Networking, Amazon Web Services, Azure, Cloud Connect Initiative, Frontpage News, Google Cloud Platform, Higher Education, InCommon Federation, Internet2 Member, Internet2 NET+, Layer 2 Services, Layer 3 Services, Recent Posts, Regional Networks, Research & Education Networks

Secure, private, dedicated connection offering available to AWS Direct Connect, Google Cloud Dedicated Interconnect, and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2019 – Internet2 announced the general availability of its Cloud Connect service which provides direct access to leading commercial cloud providers through the existing regional and national infrastructure at no additional cost. The offering is available to higher education institutions, affiliate members of Internet2, and regional and state networks, and follows a successful 16-month pilot phase that included the engagement of over 50 university campuses and 20 regional research and education networks. 

“One of the big lessons learned in the past few years about cloud migrations was the importance of the network that handles the cloud payload,” said David Marble, CEO of OSHEAN, Inc. “With the Internet2 Cloud Connect service, regional and state networks like OSHEAN now have an architecture to keep member cloud traffic within the research and education domain, thereby offering the opportunity to optimize performance and resiliency, reduce cost, automate provisioning, and provide analytics.”

The Cloud Connect service offering makes it easier for researchers to access and use cloud resources, and is part of a larger effort under the Internet2 Next Generation Infrastructure program that aims to deliver a full set of solutions to support science, collaboration, the academic enterprise, and the ever-present migration to the cloud across the research and education community.

The Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is using the Cloud Connect service to enable experiments on a testbed that extend into public clouds. RENCI develops and deploys data science cyberinfrastructure that helps researchers in academia, government, and business use data to drive discoveries, innovate, make informed decisions, and spur economic development.

Their projects use the Cloud Connect service in a research and education network configuration with the aim of simplifying hurdles for researchers to access direct public cloud connections and enable a wide array of cloud experiments. Through the service, RENCI will automate the deployment of layer 2 circuits across the Internet2 Cloud Connect service using the ExoGENI1 network orchestration testbed. This effort will leverage the advanced software-defined networking capabilities of the Chameleon testbed to enable 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. “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.”

The Cloud Connect service provides institutions with a Cloud Connect Portal for researchers and campus IT staff to deploy shared direct connection infrastructure on their own with the ability to support private direct connections to AWS Direct Connect, Google Cloud Dedicated Interconnect, and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute.

Through this portal, regional and state networks and campus subscribers can quickly gain access to 200 gigabits per second of private peering capabilities to these major cloud providers through the Internet2 Network in four cities across the country, including Ashburn, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; and San Jose, California.

In addition to the Cloud Connect service, Internet2 provides more than 800 gigabits per second of public peering capacity through its Internet2 Peer Exchange (I2PX) service for institutions that do not require a private network connection into the cloud.

“As a consortium for education and research, Southern Crossroads (SoX) facilitates national and global collaboration between higher education and research institutions through high-speed, global connectivity and other commodity services,” added Cas D’Angelo, president of SoX. “The Internet2 Cloud Connect service enables the ease of configuration and access to leading cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure – maximizing opportunities for high-performance computing, machine learning, data analytics, and enterprise service offerings. SoX participants reap the benefits of easily connecting to multiple platforms through one scalable, secure, integrated solution.”

The Cloud Connect service offering is part of an integrated, organization-wide strategy at Internet2 to provide cloud solutions that are developed in alignment with its member community across the research and higher education community. Internet2 is participating in a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation to build partnerships with commercial cloud computing providers and support science applications in new and more effective uses of cloud computing capabilities through the Exploring Clouds for Acceleration of Science (E-CAS) project.

Internet2 also provides cloud solutions through the Internet2 NET+ program, a portfolio of cloud solutions specifically tailored by and for higher education. The program fosters deep collaborations with cloud service providers to shape technical requirements, products enhancements, ensuring identity and access management standards, and improving support for the InCommon Federation. 

Together, these advanced, resilient, secure, community-driven services make it easier for researchers to access and use cloud resources to enable their day-to-day work. 

Additional resources:

1ExoGENI is a new GENI testbed that links GENI to two advances in virtual infrastructure services outside of GENI: open cloud computing (OpenStack) and dynamic circuit fabrics. ExoGENI orchestrates a federation of independent cloud sites located across the US and circuit providers, like Internet2 through their native IaaS API interfaces, and links them to other GENI tools and resources

About Internet2

Internet2® is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 serves 316 U.S. universities, 60 government agencies, 43 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 100,000 community anchor institutions, over 1,000 InCommon participants, and 59 leading corporations working with our community, and 70 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.

Internet2 delivers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions that leverages, integrates, and amplifies the strengths of its members and helps support their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network that was built to deliver advanced, customized services that are accessed and secured by the community-developed trust and identity framework.

Internet2 offices are located in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; Washington, D.C.; and West Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit or follow @Internet2 on Twitter.

Media contact:
Sara Aly, Internet2