Ten Emerging NREN Fellows, here pictured together with Fellowship supporters and NORDUnet staff, are now saying goodbye to Helsinki. Their next destination is either the NORDUnet NOC in Stockholm or the NORDUnet headquarters in Kastrup for even more discussions and knowledge exchange. And once agin we'd like to thank Emerging NREN Fellowship supporters Ciena and Eduix for their generous help setting up this programme, that hopefully will continue and grow over the coming years.   

Systems specialist Kalle Happonen shares his first hand experiences of deploying CSC ´s ePouta IAAS Cloud service, allowing researchers to offload the burden of infrastructure management when handling sensitive data. The largest user of the service is the bioinformatics community. The service is based on OpenStack but a lot of integration and customization has been done by CSC, often based on feedback of the customers. Happonen describes his joys and surprises as well as challenges with designing and implementing a service designed with sensitive data in mind. He also shares how the system fits with current different security standards, the limitations and future design options, as well as the lessons learned.

Watch Kalle Happonens presentation about 59 minutes into the recording 


Roland Hedberg, head of the Unconference session, evaluates the experimental session, new to the NORDUnet conference:

- A large part of the conference participants were present, between 150 and 200 I think. In my experience doing an Unconference session is more difficult with a large group than with a small one.

- Although people were a bit cautious in the beginning we ended up with a total of 9 themes to discuss, and that is quite remarkable. So there was no shortage of things to talk about, although people often think that the problem they are struggling with only is relevant to themselves, and usually that’s not the case. 

- I had submitted a topic myself and the discussion around that went very well. I was looking for experts on specific parts of the proposal, to get some feedback. And there were some people in the group that gave some very relevant input. 

List of topics discussed at the Unconference session:

- improving eduroam and WLAN performance in the Nordics in the future

- public/private partnership for IaaS and STaaS

- supporting schools with ICT

- concept (under extensive development) of the Next Generation Network-Integrated Architecture for major science programs

- Darknet aggregation, a collaborative security effort

- conversion time for federated metadata, metadata propagation experiment

- privacy and EUP

- next generation identity federations

- eduroam IDP in the cloud

Cinia and NORDUnet have signed a MOU regarding a network sharing arrangement, which aims to benefit the Nordic business and science society. The co-operation will provide better services and create new opportunities for scientific organisations, government bodies, and public and private enterprises.

As a first result of this agreement NORDUnet will gain access to 100 Gbps of capacity on the C-Lion cable between Finland and Germany, on the stretch between Helsinki and Hamburg.

This will add a third and diverse route out of Finland to the NORDUnet network, and will also provide for a direct high capacity link from the NORDUnet open exchange point in Helsinki (NOX-HEL) to other R&E exchange points in Europe utilising the NORDUnet optical network and eventually form part of a Global R&E infrastructure.

Further sharing opportunities may include collaborations that will open up for capacity going east to Asia on a direct low latency route. To Cinia and NORDUnet It is utterly important that one of the new digital superhighways between Europe and Asia will pass through Nordics and Finland, to the benefit of Nordic business and science society. And with the signed arrangement Cinia and NORDunet have agreed to join their forces to create these new international information backbone routes. 

Read the full press release here: 

Cinia and NORDUnet aim to position the Nordic as part of the new digital superhighway

Helsinki, 20.9.2016  NORDUnet, a collaboration between the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of the five Nordic countries, and intelligent connectivity company Cinia Group have made a network sharing arrangement, which aims to benefit the Nordic business and science society. The co-operation will provide better services and create new opportunities for scientific organisations, government bodies, and public and private enterprises.

Both NORDUnet and Cinia emphasize Nordic cooperation and synergies for the wider network coverage and points of presence in the Nordics. Also, new points of presence are actively sought in areas such as scientific research, meteorology, use of supercomputers, and data centre development.

 “It is utterly important for Nordic business and science society that one of the new digital superhighways between Europe and Asia will pass through Nordics and Finland. With the signed arrangement Cinia and NORDunet have agreed to join their forces to create new international information backbone routes,” says Cinia’s CEO Ari-Jussi Knaapila.

“The eastern part of Nordics has been an isolated endpoint in various maps. Cinia’s new C-Lion1 network expansion has opened a new great Northern opportunity. We want to make joint proposals for our stakeholders in order to build and develop more routes, wider connectivity, and new systems with both terrestrial and sea-cable systems,” says CEO René Buch from NORDUnet.

NORDUnet and Cinia have agreed that both parties may utilize the other’s network and provide network sharing arrangements in order to give the stakeholders a chance to benefit from wider coverage and better redundancy.

For more information: Ari-Jussi Knaapila, CEO, Cinia Group, phone: +358 50179, email: aj.knaapila@cinia.fi

René Buch, CEO, NORDUnet, phone: +45 3119 1400, email: rene.buch@nordu.net

About Cinia Group

Cinia Group creates intelligent connectivity solutions that make the world smaller and your business smarter.  We have over 10,000 km of own backbone and we are building international connectivity and sea cable connecting the East and the West.

With over 200 own professionals we design, build and operate nationally critical systems in open system environment serving many major traffic and energy distribution operators.  We have a strategic ambition to build and expand Cloud Backbone to fuel Single Digital Market in Europe and offer system solutions created for private and public sector customers.  www.cinia.fi

About NORDUnet

NORDUnet is a collaboration between the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of the five Nordic countries; – Denmark (DeIC), Iceland (RHnet), Norway (UNINETT), Sweden (SUNET), and Finland (Funet). NORDUnet operates a world-class network and e-infrastructure service for the Nordic R&E community. The five NRENs develop and operate the national research network infrastructures, connecting more than 400 research & education institutions with more than 1.2M users. NORDUnet and the Nordic NRENs continuously work to further develop leading edge services and to push the technology envelope. NORDUnet provides global network connectivity, and is a key contributor to international partnerships such as GÉANT, the ANA collaboration and the Global Network Architecture (GNA). For additional information, please visit http://www.nordu.net





Meet Emmanuel Mukwesa

Close to 60 member institutions are hooked up to Zamren, the research and education network of Zambia. Senior network engineer and Emerging NREN Fellow Emmanuel Mukwesa has been with Zamren from the very beginnings, and as use rates of the network are rising far more than expected, there is no shortage of challenging assignments. Among other things Zamren is upgrading to new Juniper equipment, and there are plans for setting up a data center. Also, Zamren hosts a supercomputer facility, among other things used to process satellite data.

As Zamren is peering with local ISPs, one of Emmanuel Mukwesas main interests is development in the network industry. So naturally, for him one of the conference highlights has been Kireeti Kompellas Wednesday keynote about self-driving networks. Also, the announcement of a new 10 Gbps link from Cape Town to Europe has got his attention, and he is looking forward to participating in the GNA initiative, creating a powerful global network for research and education.

- In Africa we need more bandwidth and also we need our networks to be more resilient. Coming here to Helsinki is really inspiring. After the conference I’m going to the NORDUnet NOC in Stockholm to see how NORDUnet runs its network. 

Meet Helina Emeru

Helina Emeru, chief technology officer of Ethiopean EthERnet, is one of ten staff at the network, organized under the Department of Education and serving 36 universities in the country.

In regard to the NORDUnet conference, her key interests are network management. Coming to Helsinki as an Emerging NREN Fellow, she especially appreciates the cooperation of NRENs in the Nordics. Taking this experience back to her home country, Helina Emeru hopes to gain new inspiration on how to collaborate, not only with the local universities, but also with vendors involved in developing EthERnet. These are currently IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Microsoft.

Also, according to Helina Emeru, challenges are somewhat similar in the NREN world regardless where you are located: It can be hard to explain the benefits of an NREN to universities, and government funding can change from year to year. Despite all that, EtnERnet is expanding. The next phase will expand the network to more institutions among them medical schools. And work is in progress to deploy eduroam. Also Helina Emeru and her colleagues are working on an educational private cloud providing email service, e-learning tolls etc. to the university community. 

While 240+ people are attending the NORDUnet conference here in Helsinki, many more are participating remotely. Twice the amount actually. Our conference live stream is being watched by approx. 500 people, summing up the list of participants to about 750. 


Releasing attributes for science – Why is it so difficult? GÉANT task leader, Lukas Hämmerle shares experiences of GÉANT´s quest to increase the adoption and use of eduGAIN.

In his presentation Lukas Hämmerle highlights the main problems federations have had over time and especially the current problem of not getting any or enough attributes from the identity providers of some institutions.

Why is that? Is it really this dangerous to provide attributes like name, email, unique identifier and affiliation, which are needed by most services? Are the identity providers over cautious of their responsibility? Does the service provider have to join all individual research infrastructure federations instead of just eduGAIN to be able to operate? As consequence to this reluctance, some institutions unintentionally prevent their researchers, lecturers, and students from benefiting from federated identity management and services.

Lukas also introduces ways to solve attributes problem. He encourages identity federation operators not to be “chickens”, and to ensure that the services receive the attributes they need by supporting and motivating Identity Providers to manage attribute release in a reasonable way.

He also suggests that user consent for attribute release is the best way to transparency and urges NRENs and research institutions to share their best practices.

Watch Lukas Hämmerles presentation about 53 minutes into the recording of the conference track Getting The Attributes Flowing:


Track 2 - Media

DEIC Project manager of Video conferences Thorkild Jensen provided a summary and perspectives on the media workshop held at NTW 2016. He explored the questions, wishes, experiences and projects brought up by media managers. 

He introduced some of the current problems, Nordic projects and initiatives such as Adobe Connect/LMS integration, AC Deprovisioning videoconference, AC Seminars/Events, AC Custom Pods (You Tube and Kaltura integration)Future projects also include many Kaltura related projects and challenged audience for ideas and wishes for future projects

CASE implementing Kaltura in FUAS collaboration

Kai Kataja from HAMK introduced the first pilot project of this size implementing Kaltura in Finland. It was the first pilot project in Finland for Funet, Kaltura offered by NORDUnet for FUAS collaboration – three separate Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland using Kaltura together.

Kai also presented the special setup: Haka (AAI), Moodle and YouTube integration, features such as three separate Media Spaces, Quiz, and mobile access. There were six organizations, HAMK, LAMK, Laurea, CSC, NORDUnet and Kaltura, unclear project roles, no ready agreements, challenges in sharing videos in FUAS level, and encouraging teachers to share their videos. Outcome of the project being that remarkable amount of work was done, trust between partners was essential, consensus on the metadata structure and some same applications and licensing was set for the future.

Watch the recording from the Media track here:


Norway has had great success in rolling out learning management systems at the country’s universities. So it may come as a surprise that Thorleif Hallén from Norwegian Uninett announced the death of LMS in his presentation at the e-learning track of the NORDUnet conference.

But simultaneously he welcomed the LMS successor, the digital learning platform. According to Hallén, LMS has focused too much on management and too little on learning, and lacking flexibility and possibilities of data flow between courses etc.

A digital learning platform is now under way in Norway, and Uninett is preparing procurement of this platform for 21 colleges and universities.

Take a look at Thorleif Halléns presentation here, about 25 minutes into the recording:


This session deals with how NREN organizations and universities manage information security.

Alf Moens of Surfnet describes the work going on within the GÉANT SIG-ISM (Special Interest Group – Information Security Management). The group focuses on the security management process rather than operational or technical security. Alf Moens also covers the work of other organizations such as WISE and TF-CSIRT.

Rolf Sture Normann explains how UNINETT performed a survey among Norwegian universities in order to discover the status of information security management. It turned out that only three or four universities had begun establishing an ISMS (Information Security Management System). As a result, UNINETT developed a guide to help universities get started.

Henrik Larsen describes two information security management projects within the DeIC (Danish e-Infrastructure Cooperation). One covers a hosting platform, the other an HSM (Hardware Security Module) installation. Among the lessons learnt were that an information security management project entails a process of changing the behavior of the organization – and that is hard.



Opening reception

Wrapping up the first day participants met to have a drink, celebrating the NORDUnet 2016 conference opening and tasting local food and music.


As GÉANT CEO Steve Cotter put it, there is no better school than ”the school of hard knocks”. And according to Cotter, the NREN world is taking some hard knocks these days, most of them due to globalisation. And NRENs need to evolve to stay relevant and competitive in this changing NREN landscape.

Being the second keynote speaker at the Wednesday plenary, Steve Cotter highlighted some key trends, among other things the trend of compute, data, and networking coming closer together. Also, there has to be organizational change to improve outreach to NREN customers, more focus on software development and data analytics as one of the new things in the NREN service portfolio.

And last not least, NRENs have act together as a global community, tackling the new challenges as a group.



Starting out with one of the first motor cars, a Mercedes-Benz, and going on from there to self-driving, autonomous cars, keynote speaker Kireeti Kompella, presented his vision of self-driving networks. He proposed collaboration between academia, organizations operating networks and equipment manufacturers to build self-driving networks, taking lessons learned from the development of self-driving cars to the network world. A grand challenge indeed, and Kompellas presentation clearly got the networking engineers in the room thinking....


A new Code refinery project by NEIC will be launched in September 2016. Project´s goal is to establish a software development e-infrastructure coupled with necessary technical expertise and extensive training activities in order to address the growing needs of computational communities. In practise this means that the project is to train Nordic research groups and projects in state-of-the-art tools and practices in modern software design and development.

You can find a short presentation of the project by Radovan Bast, senior engineer in the High Performance Computing Group at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, about 22 minutes into the recording of the conference Lightning Talks: