Janet, the UK’s research and education network, has announced a peering arrangement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that will allow the Janet community to use the cloud for their research and education needs.

The new arrangement will provide managed bandwidth for Janet members connecting to the AWS cloud. This means that Janet’s 18 million users will be able to connect directly to the pay-as-you-go technology resources provided from AWS’ Dublin data centre via Janet's 100Gbps network.

“We know that UK research and education institutes are increasingly adopting cloud technologies, particularly compute and HPC, such as those offered by Amazon Web Services,” said John Milner, Advisor to Janet and former MIS Director at the University of Cambridge.

“By peering with Amazon Web Services we are supporting UK research institutes’ increasing desire to access cloud technologies and we are complementing our world class fibre network with Amazon Web Services’ leading technologies, to help accelerate scientific research.”

Janet consists of 5,000km of optical fibre across the UK, connecting research and education organisations including universities, further education colleges, research councils, specialist colleges and schools, as well as museums and cultural institutions.

Janet already peers directly with many leading technology suppliers and peering with AWS is the next step in this strategy, according to the organisation.

“We are going to be seeing more and more focus on cloud computing over the coming years and we will focus on our continued investment in a high quality infrastructure to ensure research organisations have access to the network, storage and compute resources they need to continue to ensure world class services for staff and students,” said Milner.

Janet users already taking advantage of AWS cloud resources include The University of Surrey, University College London, Newcastle University and Edinburgh University.

Last year, Janet named the suppliers for its £50 million cloud infrastructure framework contract. Verizon, Capita, Dell, Eduserv, Fujitsu, HP, Liberata and Logicalis are among the suppliers.

Milner told Techworld that peering with AWS complements the framework activity, as the framework is for more private/hybrid solutions and AWS is a well-used tactical cloud.

The organisation has also announced plans to deploy a new core switch architecture to support increasing demand from its users as it migrates to an enhanced network.

Janet is to use the 6500 packet-optical platform from Ciena, which is equipped with the firm's WaveLogic Coherent Optical Processors. The kit will be used for Janet6, the next generation of the Janet offering to colleges, universities and schools, that will go live by October 2013.