GARR, the Italian Research and Education Network, implemented ONLYOFFICE to operate a self-hosted cloud workplace for research. Claudio Pisa from the Distributed Computing and Storage Department at GARR talks about their experience.
About Consortium GARR
GARR is the ultra-broadband network dedicated to the Italian research and education community. Its main objective is to provide high-performance connectivity and to develop innovative services for the daily activities of researchers, professors and students as well as for international collaboration.
The GARR network is designed and managed by Consortium GARR, a non-profit association founded under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. The members are CNR, ENEA, INAF, INFN, INGV and all the state Universities represented by the CRUI Foundation.
The GARR network is an extensive digital infrastructure with about 17.500 km of optical fiber covering the entire national territory. It reaches about 4 million users and connects more than 1.200 sites, most of which are public institutions (research institutes, universities, research hospitals, cultural institutes, libraries, museums, schools).
The GARR network is interconnected with international research networks and the worldwide Internet, so regardless of the geographic location, any researcher can exchange digital data and content, use scientific computing resources and cloud-based applications.
Moreover, GARR provides IaaS, PaaS and SaaS cloud services. In particular, GARR acts as the hub for a federation of cloud infrastructures based on OpenStack, it provides deployment as a service so that users can easily install applications on top of OpenStack, it provides a container platform based on Kubernetes and, last but not least, it provides the GARR Workplace service based on ONLYOFFICE.
As Claudio Pisa recalls, their supervisor told them about ONLYOFFICE in 2018. Personally, Claudio got to know the solution on the FOSDEM conference.
Consortium GARR opted for ONLYOFFICE for a number of reasons:
- user interface very familiar to their user community,
- open and auditable code,
- ability to install the suite within their own infrastructure,
- compatibility with popular document formats,
- efficient usage of computational resources.
The GARR Cloud is ISO 27001 certified and some of the users perform research in the medical field, which is subject to strict regulations. One of the main reasons for which Consortium GARR is currently using ONLYOFFICE is that as service providers they generally tend to use their own services, whenever possible.
Documents & projects
According to Claudio, they use mostly the Documents module. Researchers edit text documents and work with spreadsheets in a collaborative way. The Projects module is also used. Implementing the SAML integration for Single Sign-On is now planned.
Claudio Pisa, the Distributed Computing and Storage Department at GARR:
We are using ONLYOFFICE to provide the GARR Workplace service, in which a group of users can get a dedicated ONLYOFFICE instance regardless of their location. This is particularly useful for cross-organization collaborative projects.