Cybera International Strategic Advisory Committee - 2011 Cybera AGM Report


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Brian Unger, Chair of Cybera's International Strategic Advisory Committee (ISAC), presented this recap of the ISAC's 2011 conclusions and recommendations. The ISAC is comprised of leading technology research and industry representatives from around the world. For more information on this committee, please visit the Cybera website:

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Cybera International Strategic Advisory Committee - 2011 Cybera AGM Report

  1. 1. International Strategic Advisory Committee October 5th 2011 Draft Conclusions & Recommendations
  2. 2. Introduction  In the past year Cybera staff and management have done a great job in exploiting Cybera’s network infrastructure assets and expanding the depth of its technology expertise (focused primarily on Cloud services).  These accomplishments encourage us to think about how this can be levered into a longer term strategy. That strategy should deliver value to clients in situations that involve a focus on Alberta priorities, on problems which are not priority interests of multinationals, and which can be solved using deep expertise not easily matched by small competitors.  To take Cybera to the next level in support of its mission it is necessary to go beyond the role of a “service provider” to a “solution deliverer” with a target profile of being seen as the hub of applied advanced ICT in Alberta.
  3. 3. Specific Recommendation 1  Provide access to infrastructure clouds, understood as not just building a cloud in Alberta, but as a “cloud fabric” facilitating the use of other clouds in a seamless fashion so that storage and computation can move between private, community and commercial clouds based on need. This is somewhat similar to what Cybera has done with networks (and also builds on the network fabric). It will probably involve some platform-level product development, for example similar to what is being done with OOI (Ocean Observatories (CI) Initiative) or RightScale (“cloud computing management”), and will generate expertise that will enable Cybera to drive standards. Providing the infrastructure -- again, understood as combining access to many clouds, much in the way Cybera is peering with other networks -- should be the focus. Providing such a "fabric" facilitating cloud usage will enable others in the province to build successful projects, as well as, enable Cybera to build further value-added services.  Cybera might also consider providing a way for users to share apps/VM images theyve developed - an appliance store of sorts based on the “fabric”.
  4. 4. Specific Recommendation 2  Cybera needs to raise the level of its technology and marketing expertise. Cyberinfrastructure (computer science, software engineering, data science, distributed computing, computational science) technologists are needed (either thru hiring, upskilling or forming strategic partnerships). A significant proportion of Cybera’s staff should be professional technologists (re-profiling of Cybera’s staff may be needed).  Full time marketing skills should include client needs assessment, client relationship management & processes, business development, and partnership development.  Business development processes should involve coordinated marketing, sales and technology personnel (to turn “leads” into “contracts”)
  5. 5. Specific Recommendation 3  A successful large project with a flagship client is needed that demonstrates Cybera is a leader in the provision of some service within the cyberinfrastructure spectrum. This project should result in a Cybera developed platform, e.g., not solely agile deploying, configuring, existing software (DevOps) but unique valuable software IP (including applications, tools) with provincial and, desirably, international recognition.  Service delivery alone is likely not a sufficient economic driver for the province to justify Cybera’s ongoing provincial support. Although Cybera is now delivering excellent "DevOps" that is competitive internationally, this may not be sufficient to sustain success nor to have the desired sustained economic impact. Ideally this project would also integrate several parts of Cyberas strategies, e.g., use of the "Cloud Fabric”, the water portal, sensor data management, …
  6. 6. Specific Recommendation 4  Develop strategic partnerships with organizations that have deep complementary IT expertise to leverage Cybera into larger flagship projects. Such partnerships have existed in the past with university partners.  The leveraging of this kind of expertise could be expanded without lessening the need for Cybera to build its own internal IT expertise.
  7. 7. Specific Recommendations 5 and 6  Cybera should consider refocusing, or adding to, its educational efforts through workshops and short courses targeting industry, with the goal of both providing a service to the Alberta community (and possibly raising funds) as well as to help further develop their network of contacts and client base.  In future meetings ISAC needs a written document that includes a financial overview, more detailed information about the Cybera operations, the status of the projects, as well as, what actions have been taken as a result of ISAC recommendations.ISAC also provided confidential feedback to Cybera’s CEOAlex Reinefeld, Bill Appelbe, Debashis Saha, Gregor von Laszewski,Kate Keahey, Nancy Wilkins-°©-Diehr, Richard Fujimoto, Rob Simmonds,and Brian Unger