Today, after what seems like ages, the sun is shining and the birds are singing outside my window. Which must mean it’s nearly spring and time is running out to register for Networkshop43.
If you’ve never been before, Networkshop is an annual, three-day event designed to give technical people working in the education and research community an opportunity to network and explore developments in advanced network services.
This year, it takes place at the University of Exeter from Tuesday, 31 March until Thursday, 2 April. Just by registering you have a chance to win an iPad Air; you’ll also have opened up some great opportunities to meet experts in a range of digital technologies and to keep up to date with all the innovative stuff that will be emerging soon.
What to expect
There will be some showstopper presentations, including one by Chris Lintott, professor of astrophysics and citizen science lead at the University of Oxford. The well-known presenter of BBC TV’s ‘The Sky at Night’ will be bringing us up to date on technology-enabled citizen science.
But my top tip is to make sure you leave time to find out about the things we are doing within Jisc to boost research and reduce costs.
One headline project that does both is the Jisc data centre, which launched last autumn. It is the first shared data centre for the UK’s education and research community. A joint venture with specialist data centre provider Infinity, it opened for business in Slough with six research-intensive institutions as founding members. We’ll be looking at how they are already seeing the costs of their research data management (RDM) coming down and also at some of the other reasons why our first data hall is already full, way ahead of expectations.
For anyone who has been in favour of shared data centres these reasons will be no surprise - but the education and research community has waited a long time for a shared data centre so it will be interesting to see how the founding institutions are already achieving more efficient aggregation and easier data sharing and also to understand how they are working to foster collaborations across common data platforms.
Elsewhere, there will be sessions looking at cyber security. This is always an area where there is keen interest and so we’ll be looking at some of the strategies in development. There will be updates on work we’ve done over the last year or so to help the community protect itself against things like heartbleed and on the current programme to help our customers replace their SHA-1 certificates ahead of the 2017 expiry date. Importantly, we are doing this at no cost to customers so it would be worth looking into this at Networkshop43 if you haven’t already done so.
And alongside the big, juicy projects there will be opportunities to find out more about activities that often get overlooked but can have a big impact on an institution’s bottom line. No-one hears much about the Jisc contracts team but it exists to negotiate terms for services and to pass savings on to customers. They do this day in and day out, largely unsung, so it is timely to find out more about what they do, and hear how a single team member has just saved well over £1m, a massive saving that is now being passed on to our customers.
Find out more
You can find out more about the event programme here before you register for Networkshop43. Everyone who registers is entered in a free prize draw to win one of three iPad Airs, courtesy of our data centre partner Infinity.