Pre-Commercial Procurement: R&D as a Service for the European Open Science Cloud

The paper written by Marion Devouassoux, Bob Jones, and João Fernandes in occasion of the 24th International Conference on Computing in High Energy and Nuclear Physics (CHEP 2019), which took place at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, South Australia from 4–8 November 2019, is now available online.

The contribution done by the CERN Information Technology Department focuses on the economical and contractual aspects linked to the production use of commercial cloud services, which are often overlooked in research environments in Europe, preventing researchers from reaping the full benefits of these services.
Since 2016, CERN, in collaboration with leading European research institutes, has launched several projects to address this problem, and ARCHIVER is one of them. The preparation and execution phases of these projects have revealed key lessons in procuring commercial cloud resources for research environments in Europe.

First, some of the identified business models have proven to be efficient and therefore can be beneficial for the EOSC. Careful planning is needed concerning the management of the procurement exercise in order to achieve a genuine commitment from the buying organisations. To this end, the ARCHIVER project has established a Joint Procurement Agreement that defines the roles of each Buyer Group member and establishes its governance as well as the levels of pre-commitment of funds for procurement.
Second, a cloud voucher is an efficient mechanism to encourage the uptake of commercial cloud services made available in the EOSC catalogue. Furthermore, solutions must be available for users willing to archive their data in trustworthy scientific data repositories, which follow standard best practices and guidelines to ensure the findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reuse of the data. The innovative archiving and preservation solutions developed as part of the ARCHIVER project offer such functionalities.
Finally, the compliance to the EOSC Rules of Participation must be validated before providers can offer their services in the EOSC catalogue.

These lessons can be valuable input for the definition of the Rules of Participation for cloud providers in the EOSC.

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