We are delighted to be able to announce that JISC and HEFCE have agreed to fund the ‘Virtual Infrastructure with Database as a Service’ Project (or VIDaaS for short). VIDaaS will continue to develop the Database as a Service (DaaS) software that the University of Oxford began working on during the Sudamih Project, turning it from a pilot service to a full production service hosted on virtual infrastructure – firstly within the University itself, and then nationally via the higher education cloud.
The DaaS is an online service that enables researchers to quickly and intuitively build, edit, search, and share their databases. The DaaS will aid collaboration by enabling multiple editors to work on a single database; it will capture information about the databases it hosts, making them easier for others to discover; and it will offer researchers the ability to open up their data to others – whether their peers or the general public – at the press of a button. Because the DaaS can be provided as a central service, data can be securely backed up and considerable economies of scale can be offered over alternative database systems.
The University of Oxford will develop its virtual infrastructure so as to be able to support the DaaS and other such ‘Software as a Service’ initiatives in future. This entails enabling seamless capacity management, developing an identity and access management system that integrates the software with the infrastructure, and providing processes and solutions for billing and accounting for service use. Ultimately the infrastructure and shared services will be expandable into the general higher education cloud.
The project will be producing support materials and offering training courses for researchers wishing to get the most from the DaaS. Cost models will also be developed to indicate the expected return on investment resulting from the project. The Digital Curation Centre and Eduserv will be working with us to help ensure that the outputs are sustainable beyond March 2012.
VIDaaS is being funded as part of the JISC’s ‘UMF Shared Services and the Cloud’ Programme.