Futher Development Strategy of CESNET Association

1 Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide unique and complex e-infrastructure services in a quality comparable to top world standards in the field to the science, research and education community. To offer stable services with high added value covering the widest possible spectrum of needs of our users. To contribute with our in-house research activities to development of information and communication technologies and practical applications of the outcomes of this development.

2 Vision

Our vision is to become a technological innovator providing information and communication services in a scope and quality not offered by commercial providers of ITC services. To continuously improve qualities and parameters of e-infrastructure, to meet user needs and influence them by educational activities. To develop the status of an essential component of the environment supporting science, research and education in the Czech Republic.

3 Development of e-Infrastructure and Services

The national e-infrastructure for science, research and education, CESNET, is a communication and information platform covering basic as well as specific needs of its user community. Our task is to provide and offer, in the context of this infrastructure, a wide spectrum of reliable services at the highest level and continue to integrate and transform these services into a universal, complex environment that is comprehensible and transparent for its users and meets their needs.

3.1 Development of e-Infrastructure

The basic components of the national e-infrastructure of CESNET include a network infrastructure, a grid infrastructure, data repositories, an environment for cooperation and supporting components for integration, interoperability, surveillance and administration of the e-infrastructure (network identity, security teams, monitoring services,…).

Our strategy in the area of e-infrastructure operation and development includes:

  1. Assurance and maintenance of development of the individual e-infrastructure components and parameters at state-of-the-art level,
  2. Increase of the level of mutual integration of individual e-infrastructure components mainly from the user’s point of view,
  3. Assurance of reliable and uninterrupted operation of the e-infrastructure as a whole including guarantees of quality, creation and implementation of optimisation instruments for e-infrastructure functions as used by individual types of user groups,
  4. Assurance of adequate distribution of available capacities and thus the same standard and quality of e-infrastructure means in all regions of the country,
  5. Assurance of full compatibility and interoperability of technical tools with the related units (GÉANT, EGI. eu, GLIF etc.),
  6. Development of virtualisation towards innovations of services to end users, building of virtualisation federations,
  7. Support for creation of an environment for services and users within their domestic institutions, such as in the form of targeted cooperation or through the CESNET Development Fund and its corresponding thematic and project priorities,
  8. Continuous building of the most effective specific links between users within the national e-infrastructure of CESNET and external cooperating research sites and infrastructures according to the needs following from activities of the distributed teams, international project contents or other international cooperation.

3.2 Service Portfolio

We will continue to maintain and in prospective areas extend our service portfolio in compliance with the needs of our user community. We assume development of existing services within all components of the e-infrastructure (communication infrastructure, grids, data repositories, environment for cooperation) and preparation of new services (IaaS, SaaS and more). Increased attention will be paid to assurance of stability and functionality of the key e-infrastructure services on the level of the contractually guaranteed parameters.

The key aspect of administration of our service portfolio will remain to be communication with CESNET e-infrastructure member users and organisations. The obtained feedback will be the basis for our strategic planning and decision-making.

As our service portfolio is wide and some of the services are only used by some of our users and connected organisations we will classify the services into basic services and superstructure services. The basic services will be the services used by the whole community of our users. The superstructure services will be used for specific purposes decided by the organisation connected to our e-infrastructure.

Our intention is further extension of the offered service portfolio by means of cooperation with partners. This approach will require development of appropriate business models offering the needed flexibility and economic advantage to the end users.

Special emphasis will be laid on development of services whose principle is based on integration of resources of the connected organisations into more complex wholes, federations and similar systems where the Association will perform a unique role not only on the technical but also on the organisational level (examples of such services include eduroam, NGI, eduID.cz and others).

3.3 Security of e-Infrastructure Users and Their Data

We aim at realistic increase of security of the national e-infrastructure of CESNET and its services and in more effective protection of its users and their data. Key prerequisites for achievement of this aim include high professional standards and expertise of network and service administrators, creation of mechanisms of prevention and addressing of security incidents, coordination of security team activities and experience and information sharing. We will mainly focus on:

  1. Development of an environment allowing more effective exchange of opinions, experience and information among network and service administrators and consensual development of procedures and mechanisms in the area of e-infrastructure systems and service security, effective cooperation and mutual support in the area of its protection,
  2. Development, implementation and deployment of tools for timely detection of security anomalies, mechanisms for their sharing, analysis and prevention,
  3. Deployment of measures and tools allowing to guarantee security of user or contractual data stored and processed within the e-infrastructure,
  4. Cooperation with relevant entities on the national and international level and development of partnerships in the security area.

3.4 E-Infrastructure Users

The phenomenon of e-infrastructure brings about a specific view of its users. Considering the purpose of large infrastructures in research and development and the scope of individual services of e-infrastructure, the user community includes not only institutions (organisations) but also teams and even individuals. The situation is made even more complex by the fact that the teams are often geographically distributed in the global context.

Individuals must be understood as mobile users with access to geographically distributed resources. Development of high-speed connection of households and mobile devices in the Czech Republic will reinforce this aspect and facilitate user access to our services. As concerns service provision to end users the following principles will be observed:

  1. Our provision of services to end users will be coordinated with other entities included in the CR Roadmap of Large Infrastructures for Research, Development and Innovations.
  2. Our ambition is to provide our members and users with not only services but also knowledge and a technological edge in addressing current challenges in the area of information and communication technologies across the full width of their application.
  3. We would like to help our users in processing and long-term storage of their data and provide them with support in retrieval of information from these data.
  4. The Association, its members and other institutions connected to the national e-infrastructure for science, research and education should never find themselves in the role of a mere service provider and its customers. Our research and development activity assures that our mutual relations with our users will step beyond the frontiers of the contractor/client relationship and head towards the level of mutual support and cooperation.
  5. Creation and maintenance of the service portfolio, the service definitions, features and priorities in their deployment are and will be based on the needs and interests of individual user groups. That is why we will continue to develop communication with our users (existing and prospective) with the aim of periodically informing about our activities, development and implementation of new services, and to systematically collect and analyse requirements, comments and suggestions of our users. We are prepared for and welcome a creative approach of our users.
  6. Our ambition is not only to provide services but also to develop user skills needed to use new technologies and services.
  7. In the area of service provision we will need internal development of appropriate organisational, economic and technical conditions for accessibility of all services we provide to the widest possible community of users.
  8. Access to our services will be facilitated by development and distribution of applications providing the needed user comfort.
  9. Mutual cooperation of our users will be supported by development of common standards and recommended procedures (best practices).

4 Research Strategy

The CESNET Association is a research organisation with a long-term role as a technology innovator inspiring other entities active in the field of information and communication infrastructures and services. To preserve this position and further develop the national e-infrastructure for research, development and education it is necessary to perform intense research in relevant areas and further develop the results achieved.

4.1 Orientation of Research, Experimental Development and Innovations

In the area of research, development and innovations we will mainly focus on:

  1. Searching for new concepts and progressive transmission technologies allowing for building of networks considerably exceeding the limits of the standard Internet,
  2. Development of innovative network services and applications, especially unique ones, requiring specific communication parameters, and related research,
  3. Addressing challenges in the area of research project data processing and storage with the aim of developing these activities and not only helping users process their data but also taking long-term care of them, organising them and supporting development of tools for new ways of using the collected data,
  4. Development of tools for effective administration of individual components of the e-infrastructure,
  5. Research in the area of network identity including searching for and development of unifying instruments for access of e-infrastructure users to its resources,
  6. Research in the area of security, user privacy protection and protection of user data in cyber space,
  7. Research and development of instruments for service integration and complex user environment building.

4.2 Cooperation with Other Entities

Extension of cooperation in the area of research, development and innovations with other entities is a crucial component of our strategy. That is why we will focus on:

  1. Extension and deepening of research cooperation with members of the Association in as well as outside the context of national and international projects,
  2. Development of contact and long-term cooperation with other leading world institutions and top research and development teams,
  3. Involvement in global research projects and projects supporting our strategic objectives, or their initiation,
  4. Networking with private entities active in research or able to implement our research results in practice.

4.3 Application of Research, Development and Innovation Results

Practical application of research, development and innovation results is an integral part of the research and development activity. In this area we will mainly focus on:

  1. Preservation of a close connection between research activities and operation of the e-infrastructure by immediate implementation of results of research, development and innovations for the purpose of assurance of new or improved functions of the e-infrastructure, whether as a result of reaction to user needs or whether dictated by operational needs,
  2. Publication of our results especially in reviewed impact journals and at major international conferences – these results will preferably be published in the Open Access mode,
  3. Assurance of adequate protection of applied research results,
  4. Search for partners for implementation and commercial application of our research results, or support for their establishment.

5 Economic Area

Assurance of top standard national e-infrastructure for science, research and education is financially demanding. Public support for its operation and further development is needed, as in most developed countries. Priorities in the economic area include maintenance of public support for our activities and finding further funding resources – membership fees, fees for services, income from applied research results etc.

These are our strategic principles in the area of fund raising:

  1. In the course of large project implementation, systematic preparation of related infrastructure projects assuring further progress of national e-infrastructure services in connection with international e-infrastructures.
  2. Continuous assessment of the announced programmes, especially in the area of communication services research and applications and infrastructure for science, research and education and obtaining new significant projects through them.
  3. Further development of involvement in international projects and increase of the proportion of the thus obtained funds in the Association budget.
  4. Preparation of an economic model for the basic and the superstructure services to support financing of the superstructure services without significant attenuation of interest in their use.
  5. Obtaining other funds from fees for services provided to organisations meeting the conditions for access to the national e-infrastructure for science, research and education and from transfer of research results to practice.
  6. Systematic efforts in the field of cost reduction with maintenance of the top standards of services, especially in the area of the major cost items.
  7. Use of fund management of the Association as a support tool for achievement of strategic objectives.
  8. Maintenance of the method of continuous development of e-infrastructure allowing for even cost distribution planning. Migration of the obsolete devices from the infrastructure core towards its peripheries where their function will still be sufficient with related investment cost saving.

6 Organisational Aspects

We want to be a modern organisation operating a modern information system. Organisational structure of the Association and its internal processes must be sufficiently flexible and high-performing to allow us to react to the needs of our user community and development in the field.

6.1 Extension of Membership and Forms of Membership in the Association

Information and communication technologies perform a role of increasing significance in the society, including the areas of research, development and education.

Infrastructures and projects included in the CR Roadmap of Large Infrastructures for Research, Development and Innovations, research departments of large industrial companies, innovation centres, public universities and other major research and education entities are potentially the biggest consumers of e-infrastructure services.

We would like to extend the list of associated members with legal entities active in the areas of research, development, innovation and education, including other potential members from the area of public administration and NGOs, on condition of permanent fulfilment of the conditions for connection to the CESNET e-infrastructure by these entities.

6.2 HR Strategy and Policy of Association

We have built and have been consistently developing a stabilised team of top experts in ICT, as a guarantee of successful operation and development of the e-infrastructure of CESNET and research activity implementation.

Our HR strategy mainly focuses on:

  1. Building of long-term relations with our employees based on mutual trust and open communication and provided opportunities to express their opinions and needs,
  2. Stabilisation of key employees and their motivation to professional growth and qualification improvement in close cooperation with members of the Association,
  3. Fixation of bonds between employees and creation of a positive working climate in the Association,
  4. Development of young engineers and researchers under guidance of experienced experts and their involvement in solutions of current issues in the ICT area,
  5. Motivation of employees to participate in new e-infrastructure and research projects and achieve results applicable in science and research activity assessment.

7 Media and Communication Activities of the Association

The main aim of our media and communication activities is systematic information of Association members, e-infrastructure users, public administration and other stakeholders about our activities, services and achieved results and obtaining their feedback. We want our communication to be based on the community approach and to support the principles of cooperation between the Association and the users of its services.

The following tools will be used to achieve this objective, including but not limited to:

  1. Professional conferences, seminars and training courses,
  2. Printed and electronic materials informing about research activities and outputs of the Association,
  3. Cooperation with professional and public media and use of relevant major events with wider social impact for presentation of the Association in mainstream media (dailies, radio, television),
  4. Support for platforms for meeting and information sharing between the Association and interest groups or professional associations,
  5. Use of modern media for direct communication with users,
  6. Effective utilisation of the compulsory publicity of large projects,
  7. Continuous updates of information and use of modern communication tools in our web presentations.

Prague, 17 December 2015

Last change: 29.2.2016