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AWS Game Day @ TechEx 2022

If you’re up for an engrossing, wild ride that’s crazy fun, then you’re ready for AWS Game Day @ TechEx 2022.


Internet2 NET+, together with AWS, DLT, and Cloud Academy, are bringing AWS Game Day to the 2022 Technology Exchange in Denver, CO.


What is AWS Game Day?

A “collaborative learning exercise that tests skills in implementing AWS solutions to solve real-world problems in a gamified, risk-free environment.”

How do you play?

  • Recruit your own team (preferred) or show up and join one onsite.
  • Compete against the game and against other teams for glory and prizes. 
  • Walk away with sharper AWS skills and a story to tell. 

Game Day Details:

When

Monday, December 5, 2022, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

Cost

Until 10/21 – $35 per person General Admission ($10 students)

After 10/21 – $50 per person General Admission ($20 students)

The Game

Teams of 3-4 will run an imaginary company that rents mythical creatures. Your task will be to manage the company’s infrastructure as the market reacts to your exciting new business.

The Players

Bring your whole team, a partial team, or come prepared to join a team at the event. Registration information is below. 

Note: Each member of your team must register separately.

What’s Included

  • Beverages and snacks will be provided throughout the day, and lunch will be served close at hand so that you can keep an eye on your virtual company at all times.
  • AWS Solutions Architects will be onsite to facilitate the game and cheer you on.
  • A month of access to the Cloud Academy training library with a learning path specifically crafted to help participants shore up skills you’ll be using to run your company’s AWS infrastructure on the day of the event. In the month prior to the Game Day event, we will hold kick-off sessions to walk you through the materials. The event will be recorded for those who are unable to attend live.
  • AWS swag and prizes

Skills Used

EC2, VPC, AutoScaling, ELB/ALB, CloudFront, Elasticache, S3, CloudWatch, ECS/Fargate 


Game Day Registration & Preparation:

Step 1

Register

Step 2

Complete Team Roster

Step 3

Access Prep Work

Register for Game Day through the Tech Ex Registration. 

Note: You do not need to register for Tech Ex if you are only attending Game Day.

To register as a student, contact meetingregistration@internet2.edu.

All registrants will receive two email messages from the Internet2 registration system.

  1. The first will be a receipt for your event registration. 
  2. The second will be a request to confirm your registration via  our identity and access management system.

Please read and follow the instructions in both emails.

Once we have confirmed your registration, we will send you to a form where you can enter your team roster.

You will indicate whether you have a full or partial team or if you will be looking to pick up with a team on-site.

Note: Each team member must register separately, but one team member can enter the team information.

You will receive an email invitation from Cloud Academy to set up an account to access Game Day preparation materials.

Cloud Academy orientation sessions will be offered in early November. They will be recorded for those who cannot attend during the times provided.


Questions or Concerns:

Please contact Bob Flynn, Internet2 Program Manager, Cloud Infrastructure & Platform Services, at bflynn@internet2.edu.

Game Day Sponsors:

Internet2 and the higher education cloud community are grateful to our sponsors AWS, DLT, and Cloud Academy for their generous support of this event.



Good Morning,

I am writing on behalf of the Internet2 AWS Service Advisory Board (SAB). The AWS Higher Education Team has requested our assistance with collecting requests for enhancements or changes to AWS and its services, with the hope of improving the platform for the research and education community. To facilitate this, we developed a form to collect the requests, the associated use cases, and their overall impact on your ability to use AWS.

These requests could be challenges in managing AWS at the enterprise level, a little tweak to a service that would help you end some work-around or a major challenge to a researcher’s ability to use the platform.

We are asking everyone in the research and education community to contribute to this effort, regardless of whether your organization is using AWS for enterprise work, research, teaching, and learning, or something else. It doesn't matter if you are on Internet2’s NET+ contract, on a direct contract with AWS, or have access through some other program.

Submit as many requests as you like but, please complete a separate form for each request.  The request form can be found at: 

Request Form: https://forms.gle/SpW11KexDw3Drf5q9

We also encourage you to indicate your support for existing requests by reviewing our request tracker located at:

Request Tracker: https://tinyurl.com/HED-AWS-FeatureRequests

This will help the SAB gauge their impact and prioritize these requests for AWS. Working with AWS Education CTO Leo Zhadanovsky, the SAB will pass all requests on to the AWS product teams, with those having the greatest support getting the greatest attention.

We will submit your requests to AWS on a quarterly basis, so we will reach out to the community in advance to ask for new requests as well as your support for existing requests. We will work with AWS to update the status of submitted requests on a regular basis.

I am excited about this initiative and hope you will join me in making it a success. 

Rick Rhoades
Manager, Cloud Services
Penn State University
Chair, Internet2 NET+ AWS Service Advisory Board

We had a great EDUCAUSE Member QuickTalk | NET+ LastPass on 3/31/2022! Many thanks to Aaron Baillio, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and Jonathan Killgore, IT Specialist, at the University of Oklahoma for sharing how they deployed NET+ LastPass on their campus. There were 57 participants on the call to listen and ask questions. EDUCAUSE QuickTalks, in-person conferences, and NET+ community events are a great way to learn about how your peers are solving problems on their campuses. 

During this QuickTalk, we learned how OU deployed NET+ LastPass with MFA enabled to almost 13,000 faculty and staff to help them better manage their passwords. Baillio and Kilgore also described engagement with students at the start of the semester to introduce them to self-service enrollment using LastPass to improve student password hygiene. As part of the initial project planning to deploy LastPass, they involved a broad range of stakeholders to identify the needs of their community.  Their deployment was more successful than they expected and didn’t result in many calls to their helpdesk. Baillio discussed one area of interest to many campuses, which is distributed administration. He described how they used the managed companies’ functionality to enable distributed administration with multiple different roles for Helpdesk, Endpoint Admins, departmental management, and others. One participant on the talk commented about how on their campus the families as a benefit (mentioned in the last NET+ LastPass program update!) helped them with gaining support for their deployment.

The recording can be accessed on the EDUCAUSE Member QuickTalk | NET+ LastPass webpage.

I also mentioned a NET+ LastPass program update blog post that was posted this morning when I gave an overview of the program. If you have any questions about the NET+ LastPass program, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

The value of the NET+ programs goes far beyond the peer-vetted contract terms. Subscribers might come for the contract, but they stay for the community. Subscribing to a NET+ program is a powerful workforce multiplier and an extended higher-ed-focused knowledge base. Technology conversations with peers, technical deep dives on community-driven topics, service advisory boards, and conversations with education leadership at the service providers are all core to the NET+ experience. In the NET+ AWS program, we hold bi-weekly Technology Share calls, quarterly "Tech Jams," strategy-centered Subscriber Calls, and thematic Town Hall events. Topics covered at past Town Halls include Ransomware, AWS Educate & Academy, and Service Workbench & RONIN for researchers.

This month, in honor of Earth Day, we turn our attention to the environment. We welcome Hahnara Hyun, Partner Solution Architect, Amazon Web Services to present a session called Sustainability and AWS: Insights for Higher Education. In general, NET+ program events are only open to subscribers, but due to the importance of this work and this message, we are opening this session to the entire research and education community.

  • Title: Sustainability and AWS: Insights for Higher Education
  • Session Description: Digital Transformation can drive improved student outcomes, speed time to science, and increase agility within higher education institutions. Higher education leadership, responding to student and faculty demands, look to incorporate sustainability goals and practices into the university experience. In this session, we’ll talk about sustainability transformation, how we’ve been approaching it at Amazon and AWS, and actions higher education customers can take to incorporate sustainability into their digital transformation efforts.
  • Date: Wednesday, April 20
  • Time: 11am PDT/2pm EDT
  • Speaker Bio: Hahnara Hyun is a Partner Solution Architect for Amazon Web Services. Hahnara has a background in software engineering. She began her journey in tech at Fullerton College and received her Computer Science B.S. from the University of California, Irvine where she was an undergraduate machine learning researcher. She found her passion in enablement, sustainability, and cloud architecture. As a result, in her day-to-day role, she develops AWS GameDays to enable partners and customers to build on AWS. Hahnara is also a public speaker for AWS and ran sustainability enablement sessions at re:Invent 2021. In her free time, Hahnara plays volleyball though she’s not very good yet and loves to cook, losing most of her free time making multiple trips to the grocery store grabbing forgotten items.

Postscript

The event has taken place. If you were unable to or would like to have the slides to follow the links Hahnara shared, you can find the recording, slides, and other assets in this folder.



Time is flying by and keeps getting away from me! There have been several changes to the program since our last NET+ LastPass update in December 2020 that I will highlight here, including updates on LastPass transitioning to an independent company, the 2021 program update,  and LastPass feature and functionality as well as answering a frequently asked question that came up in community discussions. Even though 2021 was another very challenging year for everyone, the NET+ LastPass program has continued to grow with 51 campuses signed up and several more recently added!

LastPass transitioning to an independent company

The NET+ LastPass program was formally launched during a service evaluation in 2014 with a start-up at the time named LastPass at the helm. LastPass was acquired by LogMeIn, and at the end of 2021, LogMeIn decided to transition LastPass back into an independent company. Like the other transitions, this one should have minimal impact on NET+ LastPass campuses. One benefit for campuses will be additional focused development resources being devoted to LastPass accelerating updates. We have been in contact with LastPass and the GoTo team to coordinate on details relating to the transition. Additional information from GoTo on the transition can be found here.

Status update on the 2021 program update

In the 2020 update, the first major update to the program announced campuses would be transitioning from the legacy agreement to the updated agreement that they were involved in developing. We’ve now worked though most of the campuses transitioning to the updated agreement with only a couple campuses on multi-year agreements still to transition.

Update on LastPass features and functionality

LastPass has been busy developing features and functionality of interest to the higher education community:

  • There’s a new Google Workspace integration for campuses that use Google as their directory, which makes it easier for you to manage users in LastPass, and for your end users to access their LastPass accounts.
  • New dark web monitoring is available that campuses might be interested in. I keep hearing about campuses dealing with the most recent compromised password lists and campuses’ responses. Adding in the dark web monitoring using NET+ LastPass could help alert people when their emails show up on the dark web and potentially help campus information security teams. Users can access the dark web monitoring in their Security Dashboards. For campuses that don’t want their end users to access it, there is a policy for admins to turn this off. If you’ve used this, I’d love to hear your feedback because it could be valuable to campuses.
  • LastPass Vault Accessibility Updates: Updates to the LastPass vault completed in May 2021 have removed some of the usage barriers for users with disabilities. After a recent accessibility assessment resulting in 83% WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 AA Compliance, LastPass’ VPAT documentationis now available for customers under an NDA.
  • An extensive list of LastPass new features and future features will be announced regularly through LastPass Insider.
  • LastPass is working on an update around the Premium as a Perk aspect of the program updating it to Families as a benefit.
  • LastPass recently blogged about cyber liability insurance as many insurance companies are requiring password management and multifactor authentication to reduce premiums.
  • LastPass also held a webinar with our partner the REN-ISAC on Password Hygiene in Higher Education: Risks, Solutions, and Strategies that may be of interest to the community. The recording can be found here.

As mentioned in previous updates, we’re discussing a potential service evaluation for LastPass MFA and LastPass SSO. If you’re interested in that, please reach out to me.

Answering a frequently asked question

One of the most frequently asked questions in community discussion pertains to price increases. Why have there been so many price increases? The campuses asking those questions are on direct agreements for LastPass, so I’m not familiar with the details. For the NET+ LastPass program, we have had one price increase for new and existing campuses since the start of the program in 2015. The NET+ LastPass customer agreement also has a term in it that limits price increases for existing campuses to up to 5% annually. This is one of the many strong contract terms that campuses negotiated with LastPass as part of the NET+ LastPass program.

Closing

That’s a lot of updates, so thanks for reading to the end! iIf you have any questions, suggestions, or want to get involved in the NET+ LastPass program, please reach out to me!

Here at Internet2, we are fortunate to be working with a wonderful group of students from Notre Dame's Master of Science in Business Analytics program. The group is working to help us gain insight from detailed usage data we get from the NET+ AWS and GCP programs. Our hopes are that we will be able to use that data to observe emerging patterns of cloud infrastructure in higher education and research, and to use that knowledge to help the community support effective cloud use.

In order to provide analytic access to the data, which is kept in Google Big Query tables, we wanted to provide the students with a Jupyter notebook environment where they would not need to download or store the data on their own personal laptops while they work with us. This post documents how we are providing that environment using Managed Notebooks in GCP's Vertex AI Workbench.

We have set up a Google Group for the class project, containing the members of the class as well as the Internet2 staff working on the project with them. In order to allow the group the ability to create notebooks, we added the Notebooks Admin role for the group within our GCP project (as described in (https://cloud.google.com/vertex-ai/docs/workbench/user-managed/iam). Open question: Would Notebooks Runner be adequate for our purposes?

For our purposes, as we only have four students in our group, we used the GCP Console to manually create the notebooks. The process could be automated  for larger repeated use (or one could use Google's Rad Lab Data Science repo).

The process for creating Managed Notebooks is documented here: https://cloud.google.com/vertex-ai/docs/workbench/managed/create-managed-notebooks-instance

At present Managed Notebooks are only available for a single user, so we created an individual instance for each student, naming each notebook with the student's email identifier. Each notebook can be assigned a single owner (at the bottom of the Advanced Settings screen), which is where you assign the notebook to the student's email address.

To help in managing costs, we reduced the size of the instances from the default n1-standard-4 to n1-standard-2, and reduced the idle timeout period from 180 minutes to 60 minutes.

The result of creating notebooks manually in the console is a running notebook process, viewable in the Vertex AI Workbench screen in the console. We then stop those processes, as we will rely on the students to start them up when they want to use a notebook.

To give the notebooks access to our Big Query tables required assigning the BigQuery Read Session User role to our group. The group already had the BigQuery Data Viewer and BigQuery Job User roles assigned within our project.

The process for accessing Big Query data from a Jupyter notebook is documented here: https://cloud.google.com/bigquery/docs/visualize-jupyter

Because we are using GCP Managed Notebooks, all the necessary pieces for accessing Big Query are pre-installed (as are the usual Python data science modules), so the notebooks are ready to go once started.

We anticipate very low costs for using this service: Managed Notebooks are currently in Preview, and there is no management fee for managed notebooks while in Preview. The instance costs for the n1-standard-2 machines are $0.10 per hour. There can be costs for queries submitted to Big Query, but we anticipate that our uses will remain well within the free tier of Big Query usage.

Many thanks to Maddie Howe for helping to test and troubleshoot this process!

We sent out the following instructions to the students to let them know how to access their notebooks.

I’ve set you each up with a Jupyter environment in our GCP organization for work on the capstone project. 
To get to the environment, follow these instructions:
  1. Go to the Managed Notebooks page in the GCP console: 
    https://console.cloud.google.com/vertex-ai/workbench/list/managed?_ga=2.66336813.283589364.1646256329-1869828962.1513966007
  2. You should see a notebook named with your email id – e.g. nd-capstone-jdoe
  3. Click in the checkbox next to your notebook name and then click on the Start icon up on the Workbench 
    menu line at the top of the page.
    (if you don’t see the Start icon, click on the three dots there and you will).
    It takes 5-10 minutes to spin up the instance.
  4. Once your instance is running, click on Open Jupyterlab and you’ll get a new tab with 
    Jupyterlab – that can also take a few minutes.
  5. You can then start a new notebook.
  6. You should be able to access our Big Query tables as documented here:

    https://cloud.google.com/bigquery/docs/visualize-jupyter
A sample query to test:

%%bigquery testdf
SELECT distinct Product_Name FROM `projectname.datasetname.tablename`
order by Product_Name

That will put the result of the query in a pandas dataframe called testdf. To verify:
print(testdf)

A few notes:
- When you’re done using Jupyter, please go back into the console and stop your instance.
- The instances time out after 60 minutes of no use, so it’s not the end of the world
if you don’t stop it, but it’s a good practice to get into.
- The instances are not huge – 2 CPU, 7.5 GB of RAM, no GPU, 100 GB of disk. If you need more power, please let me know.

Update: March 9, 2022

Aaron Gussman from Google sent along an example of using the notebooks API to create a managed notebook instance, which doesn't appear to be in Google's documentation anywhere yet.

Here is the API example to create a Managed Notebooks runtime with Idle Shutdown settings:

BASE_ADDRESS="notebooks.googleapis.com"

LOCATION="us-central1"

PROJECT_ID="YOUR_PROJECT_ID"

AUTH_TOKEN=$(gcloud auth application-default print-access-token)

RUNTIME_ID="my-runtime"

OWNER_EMAIL="YOUR_EMAIL"

RUNTIME_BODY="{

  'access_config': {

    'access_type': 'SINGLE_USER',

    'runtime_owner': '${OWNER_EMAIL}'

  },

  'software_config': {

    'idle_shutdown': true,

    'idle_shutdown_timeout': 180

  }

}"


curl -X POST https://${BASE_ADDRESS}/v1/projects/$PROJECT_ID/locations/$LOCATION/runtimes?runtime_id=${RUNTIME_ID} -d "${RUNTIME_BODY}" \

 -H "Content-Type: application/json" \

 -H "Authorization: Bearer $AUTH_TOKEN" -v






The new year is underway and already there is a lot going on. I’m going to order this edition’s content based on how soon the deadline is approaching and how urgent it is for your attention.

Three Alarm

Kion Infoshare

Over the past year we have been hearing from schools in the higher education cloud community that they are looking for some help sorting through the plethora of 3rd-party tools swirling around the cloud infrastructure space. The top needs expressed were:


  1. account automation and maintenance
  2. security monitoring and remediation
  3. cost tracking management and savings 

One product specifically suggested and already being piloted by a few schools is Kion (formerly known as cloudtamer.io). We asked Kion to show the community around their tools and answer your questions. 

Research Innovators Program

Google Cloud is committed to supporting researchers across the globe who are solving complex challenges. As part of our efforts, we are relaunching the Google Cloud Research Innovators program. Applications are open until January 14th, 2022. To apply, please fill out this short form. For additional information about eligibility for the program, please visit the Research Innovators overview.


Two Alarm

Funding opportunity from NSF + Google

For the second year in a row, Google has partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to offer cloud funding and training through CISE-MSI solicitation 22-518. The CISE-MSI program offers $7M in funding for PIs at Minority-Serving Institutions (see list here). Applicants who request funding for Google Cloud via NSF 22-518 are eligible for a 50% match in cloud funds from Google, expanding their total possible NSF award amount by the matched number. Awardees will also gain access to free, live, instructor-led workshops and classroom tools from Google Cloud. Applications are due February 11th, and details for how to apply can be found in the solicitation documentation.

Program Satisfaction Survey

One of the vital roles of the NET+ team is to bring the community together, making and sharing opportunities to learn from each other and from the cloud vendors. NET+ Program Development Manager Tara Gyenis has put together a brief survey to get your take on how well we are doing with community engagement. We also want your feedback on vendor (GCP) and resellers’ performance. The survey is designed to get input from everyone from the cloud team to procurement to management. We ask that you share it with others at your institution. Please respond by January 31, 2022.



Speaking of engagement…

One of our most powerful engagement tools are our meetings. Yeah, yeah, I know, meetings… But no, seriously. When we bring you, the members of the community together, magic happens. The sharing of challenges, successes, approaches, obstacles, plans, etc. sparks some of the best conversations and most productive networking and collaboration. 

We are sprucing up the NET+ GCP engagement calendar for 2022. Here’s what we have planned. Calendar invitations to come out soon.


    • NET+ GCP Technology – We are going to spin up something new for the NET+ GCP program that has already been very successful in the NET+ AWS program – regular “open mic” technical discussions. These calls are for your GCP architects, admins, etc. to discuss technical questions and challenges you might encounter when managing Google Cloud at your institutions. We’ll share the questions, answers, lessons learned and challenges that remain. (monthly to start)
  • NET+ GCP Subscribers – By adding the technical call, the Subscribers meeting will be able to focus more on strategic discussion. The target audience will be the cloud managers, infrastructure directors, etc. who drive cloud enablement and infrastructure stategy. Twice over the course of the year we’ll ask you to invite your leadership and we’ll invite GCP and Google Edu leadership to attend as well. (quarterly)
  • NET+ GCP Town Halls – We will bring the community together to learn from Google (or other presenter/panel) about a big picture topic/approach/strategy/trend. Attendees come away from these sessions with greater understanding of the topic and how they might take advantage of this knowledge within their institution, where to go to learn more, etc. Community interest will drive the topics. If you have ideas, please send them to bflynn@internet2.edu

We will be sending calendar invitations to all of these to the NET+ contacts we have. Please accept the invitations for the meetings that interest you and decline the rest. And please do forward them on to others in your organization for whom they may be appropriate. 

Make a difference in your community. Join the NET+ GCP SAB


While NET+ Cloud IPS Manager Bob Flynn provides the staff time to address program mechanics and keep things running, it is the NET+ GCP Service Advisory Board (SAB) that provides the leadership and guidance to move the program forward. We are seeking new voices, new schools and new perspectives on the SAB. Make 2022 the year you get more involved in this community. Help make a difference to schools all across the country. Submit your name to be on the NET+ GCP SAB by emailing netplus@internet2.edu


One Alarm

ICYMI – For higher education community, choosing Google Workspace for Education is a team effort 

GCP administrators have always had to be cognizant of the connection between GCP and Google Workspace. Increasingly Google Workspace users are leveraging GCP in both subtle and sophisticated ways. In a nod toward keeping your GCP teams abreast of developments with Google Workplace for Education, I recommend this blog post by Steven Butschi, Head of Education for Google. It recounts the hard work done by many of you in this community to bring Google to the table to work out a path to grow with Google’s cloud and productivity platforms.

Credits

The images in this newsletter come from a variety of sources. Credit where credit is due.

Requests?

Do you have ideas or requests for a future newsletter or engagement event? Email bflynn@internet2.edu



The new year is underway and already there is a lot going on. I’m going to order this edition’s content based on how soon the deadline is approaching and how urgent it is for your attention.

Three Alarm

AWS Training Cohort

The NET+ AWS training cohort is ready to go. This combined synchronous/asynchronous program will prepare participants for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification. Participants will be guided through Pluralsight training and testing materials by higher education cloud veteran Sharif Nijim, Assistant Teaching Professor, IT, Analytics and Operations at the University of Notre Dame. 

The cohort is limited to 15 participants and is being advertised to NET+ AWS subscribers a few days in advance of opening it up to the entire community, so do not delay. Details are available on the registration form. You can register yourself or you can nominate members of your team. If you have additional questions, please contact netplus@internet2.edu

Kion Infoshare

Over the past year we have been hearing from schools in the higher education cloud community that they are looking for some help sorting through the plethora of 3rd-party tools swirling around the cloud infrastructure space. The top needs expressed were:

  1. account automation and maintenance
  2. security monitoring and remediation
  3. cost tracking management and savings 

One product specifically suggested and already being piloted by a few schools is Kion (formerly known as cloudtamer.io). We asked Kion to show the community around their tools and answer your questions. 

Two Alarm

Program Satisfaction Survey

One of the vital roles of the NET+ team is to bring the community together, making and sharing opportunities to learn from each other and from the cloud vendors. NET+ Program Development  Manager Tara Gyenis has put together a brief survey to get your take on how well we are doing with community engagement. We also want your feedback on vendor (AWS) and reseller (DLT) performance. The survey is designed to get input from everyone from the cloud team to procurement to management. We ask that you share it with others at your institution.

Speaking of engagement…

One of our most powerful engagement tools are our meetings. Yeah, yeah, I know, meetings… But no, seriously. When we bring you, the members of the community together, magic happens. The sharing of challenges, successes, approaches, obstacles, plans, etc. sparks some of the best conversations and most productive networking and collaboration. 

By popular demand, we are going to put a little more structure and variety in our NET+ AWS engagement calendar. Here’s what we have planned. Calendar invitations to come out soon.


    • NET+ AWS Technology (formerly Tech & Tactics) – This will focus on the technology. It has largely been doing that anyway, but without a clear mandate, many managers and cloud leads felt obliged to attend. This is going to be geek speak. (bi-weekly)
  • NET+ AWS Subscribers – This meeting will be for more strategic discussion. The target audience will be those cloud managers, infrastructure directors, etc. who have not found the technical discussions to be the best use of their time. Twice over the course of the year we’ll ask you to invite your leadership and we’ll invite the heads of higher education strategy from AWS to attend. (quarterly)
  • NET+ AWS Tech Jams – Co-hosted by Internet2’s Bob Flynn & AWS’s Kevin Murakoshi, these calls are technical deep dives on topics schools are working on but just need to talk through with an AWS technical expert. We’ll bring together the schools and the experts and all watch over their shoulders as they work it out. (quarterly)
  • NET+ AWS Town Halls – Bring the community together to learn from AWS (or other presenter/panel) about a big picture topic/approach/strategy/trend. Attendees come away from the session with greater understanding on the topic and how they might take advantage of this knowledge within their institution, where to go to learn more, etc. Examples from 2021 include Tools to enable research (e.g., RONIN, Service Workbench), Ransomware, and AWS Academy. (quarterly)

We will be sending calendar invitations to all of these to the NET+ contacts we have. Please accept the invitations for the meetings that interest you and decline the rest. And please do forward them on to others in your organization for whom they may be appropriate. 

Make a difference in your community. Join the NET+ AWS SAB


While NET+ Cloud IPS Manager Bob Flynn provides the staff time to address program mechanics and keep things running, it is the NET+ AWS Service Advisory Board (SAB) that provides the leadership and guidance to move the program forward. We are seeking new voices, new schools and new perspectives on the SAB. Make 2022 the year you get more involved in this community. Help make a difference to schools all across the country. Submit your name to be on the NET+ AWS SAB by emailing netplus@internet2.edu

One Alarm

ICYMI – re:Invent re:Cap

On December 15 legendary AWS Solutions Architect and friend of higher education, Kevin Murakoshi gave a high-speed and high-information presentation on all the most important announcements coming out of AWS re:Invent 2021. It was fun and full of great resources. Find the recording and list of all of the links referenced here.

Credits

The images in this newsletter come from a variety of sources. Credit where credit is due.

Requests?

Do you have ideas or requests for a future newsletter or engagement event? Email bflynn@internet2.edu




NET+ AWS Sept '21 Newsletter

Events

There has always been a steady stream of events, both virtual and, increasingly, live, coming from AWS. Here are a few coming your way that we hope you’ll join us for.

Ransomware Town Hall: Protecting your institution’s data, systems, and reputation from loss

Our partners at AWS are putting together a presentation for the NET+ AWS community on how you can harden your accounts and Orgs against ransomware.

Ransomware attacks can be significantly disruptive and costly to the college or university beyond the data compromised or stolen, the time lost recovering from an incident and money spent on recovery or for ransom payouts. These incidents can also erode the confidence and trust that students and families, faculty, staff, researchers, and partners have in the organization For these reasons it is important to keep an eye on the threats ransomware poses and to be prepared for all eventualities. In this session you will learn about current trends in ransomware, strategies to prevent and detect intrusions and approaches to mitigate the damage and recover from the attack.


Presented by Larry Kiger, WWPS Solution Architect, AWS. Larry is on a mission to educate and help information technologists and executives grow their understanding of IT Security and Compliance in the Cloud. He joined Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2019 and now serves as the Americas’ Lead for Security & Compliance in the Worldwide Public Sector team.


This is an interactive session, so bring your questions and invite your friends from the security office. Monday, September 20 12:00-1:30pm EDT. Register here.

IMAGINE: Education & AWS Public Sector Summit

Later this month at the Washington, DC Convention Center Amazon is hosting two free in-person conferences.


If you are planning on being there, please reach out to your NET+ AWS team so we can say hello.

AWS Educate/Academy Town Hall: Introducing AWS Education to Workforce

AWS Educate, AWS Academy, and other AWS education programs are now within one organization – AWS Education to Workforce, The AWS Education to Workforce team offers new program and consultative services to help customers enable and implement a comprehensive AWS cloud skills workforce education solution. Aaron Osmond, US Lead for the AWS Education to Workforce Team will be presenting this session.

Bio: Aaron Osmond joined AWS in March of 2020. Aaron brings 25+ years of professional experience in building statewide workforce development programs within public and higher education at Novell, Microsoft, Pearson, and now AWS. Aaron leads a team of business development and program implementation experts to help state and local education and workforce leaders implement AWS cloud skills workforce readiness programs.

This is an interactive session, so bring your questions and invite your faculty and colleagues from Learning Technologies. Monday, October 25, 2-3pm EDT, Register here.

Raising your team’s Cloud IQ

Training Survey

Internet2’s Oren Sreebny is looking to build on his success with a GCP community training cohort. We are working with AWS to get the first on that platform off the ground. More broadly, we are looking to assess the landscape of cloud training/literacy need in the community. Take the survey. Share the survey. Be the survey. Together we will raise higher ed’s Cloud IQ! Deadline for submission - Friday, September 17 

AWS Training Pilot

One thing we keep hearing is that one of the major obstacles to increased cloud utilization in higher ed is the lack of staff trained in cloud technology and that increased access to training would help adoption. We are looking for up to 15 people interested in participating in a pilot later this fall of a multi-campus cohort training for the AWS Solutions Architect - Associate certification.

The training will consist of asynchronous learning content (videos and hands-on labs) paired with weekly cohort meetings and occasional extra sessions with technical experts. Participants should expect to commit 5-7 hours per week over the course of the training, which will last approximately three months. The cost to participate will be in the range of $500 per participant, not including the cost of the certification exam (~$150 as of this writing).

People interested in participating can fill out this form and we will be back in touch with you as our plans firm up: https://forms.gle/sgFcj1dY8pLeHk3WA. Please respond by Friday, September 24.

Get Involved

Community, whether personal or professional, serves you best when you get involved. A professional community like the NET+ AWS community can be quite rewarding. The bi-weekly AWS Technology & Tactics calls not only produce great technical discussions among peers and partners, but they have proven to be a great place to meet the wonderful people who work in higher ed cloud.

Coming out of your annual performance review do your goals include contributing to the community? Getting out of your comfort zone? Taking on more leadership roles? Building the soft skills? The hard skills? You are in luck, I’ve got a couple of ready-made opportunities for you.


NET+ AWS Service Advisory Board (SAB)

The NET+ AWS SAB meets monthly to monitor and guide the health of the program. The members meet regularly with AWS and DLT leadership to champion the priorities of the NET+ AWS community and higher ed cloud in general. We are down a few members and welcome fresh faces and new energy. If you are interested, please contact me at bflynn@internet2.edu.

Working Groups

A tangible example of the SAB’s work are the two working groups they created to address issues raised by subscriber schools. Here are very high-level descriptions of the groups.

  • Support - Charged with gathering a comprehensive picture of schools’ AWS support needs and working with DLT to ensure it has clear documentation and process for meeting all those needs for all levels of users.
  • Enterprise - Charged with articulating a snapshot of how higher ed is using and wants to use (and manage) AWS and working with DLT to identify a path to meet that spectrum of needs.

Both groups are about to start their work. The Enterprise Working Group is looking for a few more members. Support has enough to get going, but if that is your jam, I’m sure they’ll let you join the band. If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and improve the program, drop me a line at bflynn@internet2.edu.

Credits

The images in this newsletter come from a variety of sources. Credit where credit is due.

Requests?

Do you have ideas or requests for a future newsletter? Email bflynn@internet2.edu


The NET+ Code42 Service Advisory Board wants to engage more, share best practices, and help solve challenges with our peers. We’re excited to announce the NET+ Code42 monthly community call series for 2021 into 2022 will be starting on November 4th at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT. We’ll use this time for a quarterly call on the first Thursdays of each month at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT on 11/4/2021, 2/3/2022, 5/5/2022, and 8/4/2022 at 2pm ET / 1pm CT.  Register for the calls here.

We’re going to focus on questions you would like to ask your peers about issues you’re working on for your campus, as well as having an open discussion. We’ll have an agenda with updates from NET+ Code42, Code42, questions and topics submitted by you and other NET+ Code42 participants. We’ll occasionally have short presentations from campuses or Code42 to get the discussion started.

The agenda for the first call on November 4th will be:

  1. Introduction to the call, announcements, reminder the call is being recorded, etc
  2. Updates from NET+ Code42 program (5 min)
  3. Updates from Code42 (5 min)
  4. Short presentation on privacy aspects of using Code42 Crashplan and Incydr
  5. Q/A on presentation
  6. Open Q/A


Let me know if you would like to share anything interesting you’ve done or are planning for your campus Code42 implementation. You will still use a registration page to help with calendar invites, etc. 

Please feel free to share this with other interested people on your campus or in the community!

Registration for the community calls along with the call-in details can be found at:

https://internet2.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAsceGvqTMuGtLdEkamZGJjNUrLU99YKPI9

These community calls are supported by the NET+ Code42 service advisory board and campuses signing up for the NET+ Code42 program. 

If you have any questions about the call series, please contact Nick Lewis (nlewis@internet2.edu) or the NET+ Code42 Service Advisory Board at Code42-advisory@internet2.edu.

Recordings of the community calls and subsequent calls will be posted for the NET+ Code42 community at:

https://spaces.at.internet2.edu/x/fYY5CQ

More details on the NET+ Code42 program can be found at:

https://internet2.edu/services/code-42/

The registration page will be used to register you for the virtual event and to provide you with Internet2 updates. Learn more about managing your communications preferences and learn about Internet2’s privacy policy at https://internet2.edu/community/about-us/media-resources/internet2-communications-management/

Zoom Webinar Updates

Zoom implemented a number of enhancements to Zoom webinar licenses on July 25, 2021.

The updates include:

  • End of sales for new Webinar100 licenses. No new orders are being accepted.
  • All existing Webinar100 licenses have been upgraded to a Webinar500 capacity, at no additional charge. This promotion will last until your next contract renewal date. Please work with your Zoom account manager to remove any extra Webinar500 licenses before your contract renewal date to avoid being charged.
  • All existing Webinar500 licenses have also been upgraded to Webinar1000 capacity, at no additional charge. This promotion will last until your next contract renewal date. You will need to work with your Zoom account manager to remove any extra Webinar1000 licenses before your contract renewal date to avoid being charged.
  • Please note that Customers with a Webinar 100 or 500 license as part of an Enterprise Bundle, customers with FedRAMP (ZFG) webinar licenses or bundles that include webinar, and any customers with free trial webinar licenses are excluded.

Lower Pricing for Webinar500 for NET+ Zoom Subscribers

  • Internet2 members - $621/year
  • Non-Internet2 members - $690/year

NET+ and Zoom are currently working together to update the NET+ Zoom Program pricing table. If you have any questions about the new pricing or changes, please contact netplus@internet2.edu.



Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I be charged for new Webinar500 licenses?
    • Yes, for any new Webinar500 licenses orders will be charge at the new price.
  • Is there a new price for Webinar1000 licenses?
    • No, there are no pricing changes for Webinar1000.
  • If I signed a 3 year contract, when will my promotional licenses expire?
    • The promotional licenses will expire at your contract renewal date. To avoid any unexpected charges, please work with your Zoom Account Manager to confirm the correct webinar license counts. 
  • Is there a lower tier for webinars if I don’t need a 500 capacity webinar?
    • No, Webinar500 is currently the entry level tier for Zoom webinars.

NET+ Canvas: As you may be aware, Instructure has had three big announcements over the past month.  One is the acquisition of Eesysoft, now rebranded to Impact, Another is the introduction of the Panda Pros effort, and the other is the announcement of their IPO.  Links to more information on each are below.  Please keep in mind, Internet2 (along with the NET+ Canvas Service Advisory Board) are continuing to work with Instructure in making sure the needs of the NET+ Canvas subscriber community continue to be met while the landscape here changes.

NET+ GCP: Check out our NET+ GCP summer newsletter (in the Key Program Updates section of our service page) for updates on community activities and opportunities to get involved such as “Help Us Get Creative with Teaching”.

We are working with the team supporting faculty for teaching and learning. Think curriculum, compute credits for class, Qwiklabs credits, etc.. We are looking to brainstorm with some faculty who teach using GCP (or would like to) and cloud teams who want to develop programs to make it easier for faculty to do so. If you or someone you know would be interested in giving us feedback, possibly piloting some things on your campus, please email me at bflynn@internet2.edu

NET+ GCP Cloud Architect Training Pilot:

The pilot for the NET+ GCP Cloud Architect Training has successfully wrapped up! Congratulations and thanks to all of the participants! Thirteen people signed up for the pilot cohort, and eleven people participated actively throughout the entire time. When surveyed, all of the participants thought the training was very valuable, and they recommended it for others at their institution and for other institutions getting started on GCP. All of the active participants indicated that they intend to take the Professional Cloud Architect certification exam. Internet2 thanks Google and Pluralsight, our partners in this pilot. We will be reaching out to members to find out more about the needs for cloud training on campuses. If you’re interested in participating in this conversation, please email me at osreebny@internet2.edu

NET+ Clearspan Connected: Internet2 hosted a community town hall for participants to learn about the new Clearspan and emerging issues in unified communications.

The NET+ Code42 program had a major program update where all higher education campuses can now sign-up to get the benefits of the program and we have updated the pricing model to add in an enterprise license agreement option to protect all their knowledge workers at a significant discount with more details at the accompanying blog. 

The NET+ Duo program had a webinar in May based on community requests to go over device security and managing policy in Duo with the recording posted here. We’re working on a special NET+ Duo campus only webinar on the Duo Universal Prompt and Duo Mobile Application Update where campuses will get a status update and being able to ask questions of the Duo Product Managers managing these rollouts. Please contact Nick Lewis for more details.

The NET+ LastPass program has a great new feature being released in July called Families as a Benefit. With Families as a Benefit, campus employees will receive a personal LastPass account, plus five additional licenses to share with family or friends, so they can have a safe place to store and manage their credentials.

The NET+ Palo Alto Networks program has signed up the first campus! We’ve also had 2 community calls to go over the details of how the program was setup and answer community questions. The recording from the first call was recently posted and the recording from the 2nd call is in the process of being posted. Details on the next call where we’ll have a campus speaker share their experience with XDR can be found here.

The NET+ Splunk service advisory board has focused the program on community engagement where we’ve been hosting monthly NET+ Splunk calls to talk about COVID19 one year in, Oracle database logging, managing data sources volume, logging in secure data enclaves, and more based on community interest. More details on these calls can be found here.


Internet2 hosted a community town hall on June 30th, 2021, for participants to learn about the new Clearspan and emerging issues in unified communications.

The joint Internet2/Clearspan Townhall provided information about the Clearspan organization and plans, new UCaaS features available to the Internet2 connected institutions, and new collaboration opportunities. Some of these include:

  • Provide feedback to Clearspan development efforts
    • Fully Flexible API Endpoint Access
    • Analytics and Reporting Engine & Framework
    • Bridge Development Platform
  • Join the NET+ SIP Service Advisory Board

If you are interested in either of these opportunities, send us an email



Learn more about the Clearspan evolution and their project Dynamik on their web pages https://clearspancloud.com/i2townhall/and more about the NET+ offering at https://internet2.edu/services/clearspan-connected/

For more information on this or any other NET+ service send us an email

June 23, 2021

Welcome to the NET+ GCP Newsletter. I don’t believe we’ve done one before, so this is a bit of a test launch. It’s going to be compact, brief, and hopefully very informative. Let me know how you like it, what you’d like to see more of, what you’d like to see less of. Send your feedback to bflynn@internet2.edu.

Events

Summer Camp by Redhola Muzny from Vecteezy

GCP Summer Camp

This one is red hot because the first Camp session takes place today (6/23) at 11 am PT/2 pm ET. If you missed out on earlier announcements, there is still time to register and attend. Today’s topic is a showcase of teaching and learning use cases. You absolutely want to check these out. Naturally, we will make recordings available later, but we’ll hope you’ll join us live. Go on, register now. The rest of the newsletter will be here when you get back. 

NET+ GCP Subscribers Call

The next GCP Subscribers call is currently scheduled for Tuesday, July 6 at 11:30 am PT/2:30 pm ET. I am going to push that back a week to Tuesday, July 13 (same time) because all of the Googlers are off that week. (Nice, huh?) If you have topics you would like to see discussed, let me know and I’ll add them to the agenda. If they would benefit by having Googlers in the conversation, I’ll make those invitations. Send me your suggestions and requests at bflynn@internet2.edu.

News and Notes

Are You Making STRIDES?

Businessman Facing Obstacles by Thanakorn Kotpootorn from Vecteezy

I hope your campus is working to make STRIDES available to all of your NIH-funded researchers. Wait, you aren’t familiar with STRIDES? Wha?? OK. No shame in that. Go read this. It’s not long. We’ll wait. Alright, so you want to get moving with STRIDES, but there are...issues. No worries, tell us what they are. We want to help you be a star for your researchers. Take a couple of minutes (no more than five, really) to fill out this STRIDES Adoption Barriers survey so we can help you remove them.


Big Fish Eat Little Fish by Icon0.com from Vecteezy

The Training Landscape

If you watch the online cloud training space you will have noted the purchase of Linux Academy by A Cloud Guru in 2019. Now comes word that A Cloud Guru is being acquired by Pluralsight. The NET+ GCP program has been working with Pluralsight for our Professional Cloud Architects training cohort. They've been great partners. Maybe this will make them even better to work with going forward. Stay tuned.

Opportunities to Get Involved

Help Us Get Creative with Teaching

Online Classroom by imajin noasking from Vecteezy

I am working with the team supporting faculty for teaching and learning. Think curriculum, compute credits for class, Qwiklabs credits, etc.. We are looking to brainstorm with some faculty who teach using GCP (or would like to) and cloud teams who want to develop programs to make it easier for faculty to do so. If you or someone you know would be interested in giving us feedback, possibly piloting some things on your campus, please email me at bflynn@internet2.edu

Jigsaw by Graphics RF from Vecteezy

What Services Are You Missing?

A school does not succeed with GCP alone. Shocking, right? In order to make cloud a success at your campus, it takes a solid platform but also management and security tools, training, code repos, unit testing tools, and more. Well, I want to know what you are using and what the community would get behind for new NET+ services with better contract terms to match our collective effort. I’ve spelled this effort out in the first of a series of blog posts. Take a minute to read the post and share your thoughts.

Resources 

Business Open Mind Concept by monsterjoke from Vecteezy

Accelerating Student Success with AI

Long-time friend of the higher ed GCP community, Jesus Trujillo Gomez, has written a nice article about Google’s services to help institutions increase student success. It’s a quick but informative read.

Platform/Service Comparison

If you have come to GCP from another cloud platform or you are trying to speak GCP to your AWS colleague (and need a translator) or maybe you have to manage all three platforms and you’d like your head to stop spinning for just a moment. Check out this new cross-platofrm product map put together by the Google team.

Platform Conversion

Not quite religious conversion, but close. While this is technically an Event, it was an event in the past so I’m calling it a Resource. Feel free to edit your copy of the newsletter if you disagree. Back in April the Googliata held a couple of Cloud OnAir sessions, one each for AWS professionals moving to GCP and Azure professionals moving to GCP. They cover a lot and are quite informative. You may just be coming to GCP and have a frame of reference from another platform. These will help speed your journey.

Not Your Grandma’s GCP Cheat Sheets

OK, so maybe your grandma was the kind of GCP dev who didn’t need cheat sheets, but if she did, you can bet they would have been the purplish ink on white paper and smelling of mimeograph fluid kind, not these fun and amazing works of art by Google developer advocate Priyanka Vergadia. While you are on her site, check out the About tab for other excellent resources. (And kids, if you don’t know about mimeograph machines, go ask grandma.)

From the Slack-o-sphere

If you aren’t on the Cloud Computing Community Group Slack workspace you are missing out on the higher ed cloud conversation with your peers. (Jump over to https://tinyurl.com/edu-cloud-community to find the latest join link.) Here are a couple of tips that popped up recently in the #google channel.

ThanksThank You by joezhuang from Vecteezy

Content

Thanks to the people who have suggested content for this issue (whether they realized it or not) including:

  • Alice Kamens
  • Joey Avraham
  • Eric Stravaalsen
  • Nick Young
  • Oren Sreebny

Images

Thanks to the good people at Vecteezy for the artwork, specifically:

  • momentbloom for Business Startup
  • Icon0.com for Big Fish Eat Little Fish
  • Redhola Muzny for Summer Camp
  • Thanakorn Kotpootorn for Businessman Facing Obstacles
  • imajin noasking for Online Classroom
  • Graphics RF for Jigsaw
  • monsterjoke for Business Open Mind Concept
  • joezhuang for Thank You


Join us for a community town hall on June 30th, 2021, to learn about the new Clearspan and emerging issues in unified communications.

One of Internet2’s earliest forays into facilitating community cloud services was to develop a cloud-hosted SIP service. In 2013 Internet2 staff worked with the Technology Evaluation Center at Texas A&M University, other member interested institutions, and two service providers to deliver a hosted PBX solution to the Internet2 membership over the R&E network.

Today, the cloud-hosted PBX solution is provided by Clearspan, formerly part of Mitel, and is offered as part of the NET+ cloud services portfolio.  Clearspan has been delivering scalable, cloud-based carrier-grade communication solutions for large organizations and service providers since 2007.     

Private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners acquired Mitel in 2018, creating a unique opportunity for Clearspan.  Recognizing Clearspan’s rich history of innovation and focused target market, Searchlight determined Clearspan would best serve the interests of its customers and the firm’s investors as a stand-alone company.  In July 2020 Clearspan LLC was launched.  Learn more about the Clearspan evolution and their project Dynamik on their web pages https://clearspancloud.com/i2townhall/and more about the NET+ offering at https://internet2.edu/services/clearspan-connected/

The joint Internet2/Clearspan Townhall will provide information about the Clearspan, new UCaaS features available to the Internet2 connected institutions, and new collaboration opportunities with the membership.  

Registration for the Town Hall is now open.

For more information on this or any other NET+ service send us an email