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Microsoft joins the OCRE framework to grant education and research institutions discounted Azure prices in the Netherlands and across 40 European countries.
Microsoft announces the immediate availability of Microsoft Azure through the pan-European OCRE (Open Clouds for Research Environments) framework. In the Netherlands Microsoft Azure is provided by SURF in collaboration with Microsoft Partner Bechtle, making use of the OCRE framework conditions.
With this blog we aim to inspire faculties, research groups and individual researchers to use Microsoft Azure’s public cloud services to accelerate their research.
Using OCRE conditions
A growing number of researchers are experiencing the flexibility, scaling and secure collaboration possibilities of Microsoft Azure. The multi year OCRE framework conditions help researchers to use Azure even more cost effective than before. One of these conditions is the data egress waiver. In practice this means that no costs are involved getting your data out of Azure using the internet, even if it involves Terabytes of data. Another condition is the Azure discounts on the pay as you go pricing. In your design you can also include possibilities to lower Azure cost. Examples are the use of Spot Virtual Machines (discounts for unused capacity), Burstable VMs, Reserved Instances and reusing existing Microsoft Licenses. We expect that all of this will help reaching the goals of OCRE to accelerate cloud adoption in the European research community.
As almost every Dutch research institution already has an Azure contract through SURF (SURFcumulus), the OCRE framework conditions automatically apply for the researcher. All this with Pro-direct support included from your own account in the Azure portal.
Are you interested in using Azure for research? Ask your central IT for a subscription or get in contact with your SURFcumulus representative, Bechtle (email@example.com) or Microsoft (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are all here to help you unlocking unlimited research compute for your research.
Why the Microsoft cloud? Accelerating research and improving researcher productivity
European academic research and science is at the forefront of solving global challenges at a rapidly increasing rate and is dominated by exponentially growing data. Researchers are overcoming the challenges of scale, collaboration, and compliance, while minimizing cost and complexity, by using Microsoft Azure to achieve unparalleled time to insight, scale, and price-performance on the cloud built for high performance computing, data, and analytics. With clouds like Azure, researchers can “ride the technology curve” as new technologies are made available in the cloud. The on-demand nature of access to resources can provide a “fast path” to computing — acquiring cloud resources is much faster than buying, installing, and operating on-premise, localized hardware. Researchers can keep using the, often open source, tools they like.
University’s central technical infrastructure requirements are increasingly complex with thousands of applications and services and a diverse infrastructure. Microsoft Azure provides a secure, scalable cloud infrastructure that will run mission-critical applications with increased operational agility and security.
Microsoft provides great online documentation (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure) and collaborates with SURF to provide access to free and discounted trainings. Just login on https://esi.microsoft.com/ with your institution login credentials. For more information also see Nieuwe opzet Microsoft-trainingen | SURF.nl and Blijf leren en werk aan Skills for the Future (microsoft.com).
Want to just try Azure yourself? Please visit Azure for Students – Free Account Credit for a free account without the need of a credit card.If you need help choosing the right services, understand cost, reach out to Central IT, your SURF representative, Bechtle or Microsoft. We can also connect you to peers in the field of research.
Microsoft and partners also have planned an initial series of webinars to help customers understand how they can adopt Azure, enable thriving communities and equip students, IT professionals and researchers with the skills required to maximize the opportunity a cloud first strategy can bring.