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Building and Operating National Open Science Research Infrastructures - the experience of KENET, the NREN of Kenya/Meoli Kashorda


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Presented during the AOSP high-level meeting on 3-4 Sept. 2018, Pretoria, South Africa.

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Building and Operating National Open Science Research Infrastructures - the experience of KENET, the NREN of Kenya/Meoli Kashorda

  1. 1. Transforming education and research with ICT Building and Operating a National (Open Science) Research Infrastructures – the experience of KENET, the NREN of Kenya A Presentation at AOSP Stakeholder Workshop , Pretoria, South Africa (Sep 3, 2018) Meoli Kashorda, B.Sc. (EE, UoN), PhD (ESE, University of Essex), MIEEE, MIET Executive Director, KENET and Professor of Information Systems, USIU AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 1Meoli Kashorda
  2. 2. Agenda • The State of Eastern Africa NRENs in 2018 • What Research ICT Services are in demand in KE? • Experience of Building Research Infrastructures in Kenya (2013 – 2018) • Promoting Open Science Awareness or Building National Research Infrastructures? • Conclusions – What will be Role of African NRENs in adoption of Open Science Practices? Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 2
  3. 3. African NRENs are in very different stages of development! 2016 World Bank Report is too old? Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 3
  4. 4. Sustainable NRENs are a Human Community First • EA NRENs have no Luxury of “build it, and they will come”! • Top 2 Reasons for Creating NREN community – affordable high-speed Internet – Community Internet prices lower than commercial Internet prices – Community has a high potential of attracting external funding for ICT – Examples - TENET, KENET, RENU, ZAMREN, TERNET • Most Operational NRENs are sustained by community and are like a Telecom business! – But most NRENs receive direct or indirect budget support from Government • Operational NRENs have ”execution” engineering /technical capacity Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 4
  5. 5. Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 5
  6. 6. Unfortunately Research Productivity of a Country is related to size of economy! - source: Elsevier Scival, World Bank Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 6 Country Research Productivity ( 2012 - 2017 ) Population in Millions (2016) GDP per capita (USD) (2016) Brazil 411,120 207.70 8,649.95 South Africa 118,811 55.91 5,273.59 Egypt 97,762 95.69 3,514.49 Nigeria 37,831 186.00 2,177.99 Kenya 15,065 48.46 1,455.36 Tanzania 7,860 55.52 879.19 Ethiopia 11,682 102.40 706.76 Uganda 8,297 41.49 615.31 Is Size / Capacity of NREN also proportional to Size of Economy?
  7. 7. What are the Main Infrastructure Components of an NREN? Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 7 2. NREN – WAN + Data Centers ILRI - International Livestock Research Institute LEO satellites observatory/ Remote Sensing Data Connection through UA/GEANT Amsterdam & London 16 Gb/s int’l circuits 1. Campus ICT Infrastructures 3. International networks / links
  8. 8. Google Confidential and Proprietary • . Somalia INDIAN OCEAN POP No. of Campuses Connected No of Schools connected Nairobi POP 146 33 Kisumu POP 27 0 Mombasa POP 15 1 Eldoret POP 24 0 Nakuru POP 15 0 Meru POP 15 0 Total Campuses connected 242 34 Italian Space Agency -Luigi Broglio Space Centre- Malindi Operational NRENs have a National Private Network Coverage (e.g., KENET) Uganda Tanzania EthiopiaLokichoggio Lodwar Kitale Weybuye__ Kakamega Eldoret Kisumu Kisii Kericho Bomet Narok Rongo Isebania Nairobi Kaljiado Namanga Tala Kitui Mwingi Garissa Garsen Thika Muranga Nyeri Emb u Meru NanyukiNyahururu Nakuru Isielo Wajiir Marsabit Moyale Mandera 15 9 Mombasa Malindi Kilifi Mombasa POP Meru POP USIU DC Kisumu POP Nakuru POP UoN DC Eldoret POP 500KM 400KM 500KM 400KM 350KM 350KM150KM Garissa University College SEACOM - Amsterdam (10,000Mb/s) KTCIP TEAMS/SEAMEWE4 - London (3200Mb/s) Hurricane Electric – London (3000Mb/s) TEAMS Landing station SEACOM Landing station CUEA DC Alupe University College Kibabii University Rongo University Metric No Total no. of campuses on at least 1,000Mb/s last mile fiber 85 NOFBI Fiber lease 1652KM Total KENET dark fiber distance 2322km Moi Girls, Marsabit JKUAT Kitale SEKU GEANT R&E Cloud
  9. 9. University Contributed 50% of the Infrastructure cost of building 16 KM Last mile fiber! Example of South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) in Semi-Arid region Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 9 SEKU Admin block Road construction exposes fiber Fiber route through thickets Fiber along unpaved Road under construction
  10. 10. Relatively low cost of last mile fiber for Nairobi International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) a CGIAR center with HQ in Nairobi Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 10 ILRI Genebank • Center on 10 Gb/s access dark fiber ring • Dark fiber leased from “friendly” fiber operator • Uses the link for transmitting gene sequencing data to partners in Europe Connectivity also used for disaster recovery
  11. 11. Broglio Space Center in Malindi, Kenya Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 11  Last mile government-owned fiber lit at 1 Gb/s  WiFi radio P2P backup • Operated by Italian Space Agency in collaboration with Ministry of Defence of Kenya and new Kenya Space Agency • Initially collaboration between University of Rome and University of Nairobi • Supports European Space Agency in launching satellites from French Guyana • Remote sensing center Near the equator
  12. 12. KENET Research ICT Services & Infrastructures Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 12
  13. 13. What research ICT services are in demand by researchers / research institutions? • Basic services – reliable broadband Internet + secure WiFi + email • Campus-based services only • eduroam services available since 2012! • Community research cloud services (requires community data centers) • Fully-fledged Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); Disaster Recovery • Research computing, storage, and applications – e.g., • R Studio for statistical analysis; Jupyter Notebook for data visualization • Web-conferencing / video conferencing applications – • e.g., Vidyo video-conferencing, Open Source Big-Blue Button Web-conferencing platform • Identity Services - Digital Certificates and Identity Provider for access to Global research infrastructures and services (e.g., Grid Infrastructures) • KENET CA Accredited to EUGRIDPMA since January 2016 Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 13
  14. 14. Building KENET research Infrastructures / research cloud Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 14 Motivated by and SciGaiA Horizon 2020 Projects
  15. 15. Identity Infrastructure - KENET Certification Authority (CA)  Accredited by the EUGridPMA ( in 2016  KENET CA ( issues:  Personal Certificates – Valid for 1 year (renewable)  Issuance process involves face to face verification of the subscriber for personal certificates  Intelinked with Edugain – a global service that enables simple, secure single-sign-on access to thousands of resources
  16. 16. Identity Service - KENET IDP Infrastructure  A member of the GRIDP federation by Sci-GaiA ( an EU funded project)  Sci-Gaia project promoted access to science gateways by African researchers through interfederation  Example federated services (scope - Kenya)  Open Access Data Repository (  Indico for events (  KENET IDP:
  17. 17. KENET Virtual Lab (or Research) Cloud)  KENET provides a scalable virtual cloud lab –  Originally for hands-on ICT training of technical students and university students  Online ISOC Systems Administration trainees use the platform  Allows users deploy pre-configured appliances  Appliances are built based on researcher requirements  Example appliances implemented  Jupyter notebook, Python, R Studio  Who is using the cloud?  Doctoral students in areas of medicine, bioinformatics with a need for R Studio appliance  Open Science practices trainees – Jupyter Notebook, Python, R-Studio  Open Science Workshop + Open Science Hackathon using infrastructure
  18. 18. Research Data Storage + HPC infrastructures • Researchers in SKA project participating countries have access to CHPC as Principal Investigators (PIs) • KE already has 10 PIs registered with CHPC – mainly materials science faculty + 1 in Meteorological Dept (IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center • CHPC has donated used HPC nodes to all SKA participating countries except Kenya • HPC nodes hosted and operated by respective NRENs (MoreNET in Mozambique, ZAMREN in Zambia; usage is low! • Meteorological or Weather Services Departments need HPCs, High-speed data transfers, and storage – lack of awareness • KENET has setup federated Open Access Research Data Repository (see ) • Demand from researchers publishing in Open Access journals that also need to publish research data • Also to be used for research data storage for collaborating researchers • Problem – Limited funding for Sustainable + Scalable Research Data Storage Infrastructure. Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 18
  19. 19. Conclusions • Challenge 1: Building scalable research infrastructures requires highly skilled engineers and ICT staff – Indirect support by Horizon 2020 projects – and SciGaiA – defined the basic research infrastructures • Opportunity 2: African NRENs might be the only organizations in many African countries with capacity to build and operate national research infrastructures • Challenge 2: Lack of funding for National HPC or Scalable Research Data Storage Infrastructures • Opportunity 1: Most African Universities / Research Institutions shall adopt use of Community Cloud Research Infrastructures • Challenge 3: Lack of awareness of African researchers of Open Science practices • Opportunity 3: Existing low-cost research infrastructure adequate for awareness and training Meoli Kashorda AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 19
  20. 20. Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library, University of Nairobi P. O Box 30244-00100, Nairobi. 0732 150 500 / 0703 044 500 Thank You AOSP Stakeholder Workshop 2018 20Meoli Kashorda