During the past UbuntuNet Connect 2018 conference, it was clear that more and more NRENs are becoming geared to host Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS). This can be services such as identity management, data management, cloud services, security certificates, repositories, and more. See the List of African NREN Partners to find the NREN in your country, and to inquire about services offered.
NRENs can and in some instances already play an important role in making open science and the sharing of research data (incl. Big Data) a success.
An NREN Capability Maturity Model/Duncan Greaves
Level 6 (Elaborated service offering) marks a fully mature NREN of the kind that characterises Europe, North America and comparable contexts. The NREN is richly connected at high speed to many other networks and resources. Numerous value-added services are available, such as grid and cloud computing resources, user-controlled lightpaths, videoconferencing, and federated identity services. The NREN’s value proposition lies primarily in these services, since bandwidth pricing in such contexts is transparently cost-related. Many institutions will purchase commodity bandwidth from a commercial provider in addition to NREN-specific bandwidth. A culture of collaboration is deeply established.
Levels of African NRENs according to the following studies:
The Role and Status of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Africa/Michael Foley (World Bank Study)
Riding the National Research and Education Networking Train in Africa: A Policy Brief for Stakeholders/Association of African Universities. The policy brief was commissioned by Nodumo Dhlamini (Director AAU ICT & Knowledge Management) as an update to a policy brief commissioned in 2007 by Boubakar Barry, then the Coordinator of the REN Unit (RENU) at the AAU. It was funded by IDRC. The author is Lishan Adam, who is well known in the African REN community.