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Jisc issues tender for second shared services datacentre in north of England

Education network provider issues tender for second shared services datacentre, while warding off DDoS attack

Jisc is preparing to open a second shared services datacentre for the education sector in the north of England, according to a tender document published by the network provider.

The organisation has established a set of anchor tenants for the facility, which include Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam Universities and the N8 Research Partnership.

The tender document features seven networking-related lots, spanning systems, servers and infrastructure, and prospective suppliers have until 21 December 2015 to express an interest in providing the required kit.

It also confirms the initial contractual period will last 60 months, but could be extended by a further 120 months, if needed.

In a statement accompanying the tender, Jisc said the opening of its second shared facility is indicative of how confident the education sector feels when consuming IT services in this way.

“The success of the current shared datacentre has built confidence across the sectors served by Jisc Services Limited, and the concept and further engagement with northern universities has identified a desire and set of requirements for a second,” the document states.

“In addition, the creation of the second datacentre satisfies the need for diversity in supply and a desire for a shared datacentre that is closer, for operational purposes, to anchor tenant institutions based in the north of England.”

The organisation opened its first shared datacentre in Slough during September 2014 to support colleges and universities embarking on academic and research projects.

The site was initially operated by Infinity SDC, but was recently taken over by Virtus as part of its acquisition of the former operator’s Slough facility.

DDoS hits Jisc network

News of the tender follows an eventful couple of days for Jisc that saw its education network, Janet, subjected to sustained set of targeted distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The network, which is used by more than 18 million users in the UK research and education sector, has suffered connectivity issues and disruption as a result. At the time of writing, the organisation said the attacks were still occuring.

As a preventative measure, the organisation said it was exercising caution with regard to the updates it provides via social media because of concerns the perpetrators may be using this to pinpoint potential targets in its network.

“This has limited our communication channels with customers, but we are working to keep them informed,” said Jisc in a statement.

Tim Kidd, Jisc executive director, also moved to assure customers that it was doing everything in its power to ensure a normal service resumes across its network soon.

“We understand the importance of connectivity to colleges, universities and other public sector organisations,” said Kidd.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure normal service is resumed as soon as possible, and in the meantime to minimise any disruption that users of the Janet network may be experiencing.”

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