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Horizon Cloud – The Forum for Strategy Focused Cloud Stakeholders

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - H-CLOUD (Horizon Cloud – The Forum for Strategy Focused Cloud Stakeholders)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

H-CLOUD leads coordination and support activities for the consolidation and growth of the cloud computing research and innovation community in Europe, bringing together innovators, policy makers, cloud computing research, industry and users into an open, participatory and sustainable forum.

H-CLOUD provides a rich set of collaborative content, tools and actions to overcome fragmentation and increase collaboration in Europe and beyond, while aligning on a common direction to help creating a Cloud agenda for the future of Europe. To this purpose H-CLOUD releases a Strategic Innovation, Research and Deployment Agenda for Cloud Computing (CC-SRIDA) that provides recommendations and strategies to guide the future of European Cloud services and their market regulations. The CC-SRIDA will support the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe and builds on a comprehensive knowledge base, the H-CLOUD LANDSCAPE, including an online catalogue of stakeholders, initiatives, projects, businesses, success stories and best practices that are accessible to all H-CLOUD FORUM participants.

With the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of the European Union covering the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission (EC) set new priorities and directions that will shape Europe over the next five years and well beyond.

The Cloud challenges, the innovative trends in technologies, and the new strategic directions of the European Commission needs to be supported through a new vision to guide the next ten years of research activity in cloud technologies and upcoming EU research programmes. In particular, three challenges are in the major focus of EC strategies related to cloud computing:
1. Effective cloud federation models to stimulate the creation of a European public cloud service market leveraging existing capacities;
2. Edge computing, its market growth, and the implications of the edge/cloud infrastructure balance switching from today’s 20% data at the network edge and 80% in cloud-based infrastructure to 80% at the network edge and 20% in cloud-based infrastructure;
3. Adoption of green computing principles to the whole lifecycle of cloud computing delivery to support the transition toward a carbon-neutral (if not carbon-negative) digital society by 2050.

These and other challenges need proper coordination among the cloud community across Europe and beyond and this is where H-CLOUD proposes to create impact.

H-CLOUD mission is to gather the European cloud stakeholders in a sustainable, informed and coordinated open community through the H-CLOUD Forum, which brings together innovators, policy makers, the demand and supply side of the cloud market, to remove fragmentation and increase collaboration in Europe and beyond, while aligning on a common direction to help creating a cloud agenda for the future of Europe with major focus on the three priorities identified.

To accomplish its mission, H-CLOUD key objectives are:
• Objective 1 – To increase awareness of barriers, benefits, needs, research & innovation, and pre-standardization opportunities
• Objective 2 – To create and operate the H-CLOUD Forum community to facilitate coordination, collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation
• Objective 3 – To develop the European Cloud Computing research and innovation strategy and its implementation plan
• Objective 4 – To ensure sustainability of the H-CLOUD Forum activities
H-CLOUD during the first year of activities delivered the following main outcomes:
• The first version of the Landscape that have been populated in the online catalogue and used as source to derive good practises in the European adoption of Cloud Computing.
• The launch of the H-CLOUD Forum and its growth through different channels and events, as mechanism to consult experts in the area of Cloud Computing.
• The organisation of the main event foreseen for the year in support of the H-CLOUD Forum: the H-CLOUD Summit 2020.
• The first version of the Strategic Research Innovation and Deployment Agenda for Cloud Computing in Europe (CC-SRIDA), that leverages the outcomes listed above.

As regards the landscaping activities, H-CLOUD explored the European cloud landscape with the objectives of mapping it in across different dimensions (Portfolio), identifying the positive outcomes of the work undertaken by the European cloud community (Good practices) and spotting potential gaps, and creating a viable knowledge resource for the community (Catalogue). To reach these objectives, the H-CLOUD implemented a list of activities during the first year of the project focusing on exploring the European Cloud landscape from two perspectives: research & innovation (European-funded projects in the field of cloud computing) and deployment (private and public initiatives making cloud computing services available for use).

As part of the H-CLOUD Forum establishment, a number of actions have been undertaken to ensure broad visibility, impact and support to the European Cloud Computing (ECC) community. In particular during the first year of project activities, H-CLOUD bootstrapped the community with different actions. The first step was the establishment of an Advisory Board that supported the evolution of the Green Paper toward a SRIDA along the 2020. A online set of tools to support the H-CLOUD forum activities have been completed, and they have been officially launched in September 2020. Large part of the effort from August on, have been dedicated to the organisation of the H-CLOUD flagship event: the Horizon Cloud Summit 2020, which was co-located with another experts consultation workshop. Outcomes of the Summit feed in the CC-SRIDA v1.0.

The H-CLOUD strategy activities built on and complemented the outcomes of Forum establishment and Landscaping activities. The H-CLOUD activities largely focused on the quick delivery of early strategy outcomes following the indications received by the European Commission during the Kick Off Meeting. H-CLOUD changed strategy and approach to respond to the needs of the Commission in relation to the upcoming Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes and to the new strategic direction set by A European strategy for data and An Industrial Strategy package. The Green Paper is supported by a number of topic focused briefing papers and it has been consolidated in the CC-SRIDA version 1.0 following 5 releases along the year (not all the releases were public, the first public release beyond H2020 project and Experts group have been published in September).
As a coordination and support action, H-CLOUD has a key role to support the promotion of Cloud Computing related novel research outcomes to a wide audience. In relation to this, the establishment of Cloud Computing projects communication task force plays a major role in the establishment of liaisons between projects and in the exchange of information project achievements.

Beyond that, H-CLOUD took active part to the Future Cloud Cluster, helping the supporting the shaping of shared research agenda on Cloud Computing and a reference architecture on Federated Clouds (the work on Federated Clouds is actually based on the H-CLOUD Federation Briefing Paper). In a more general sense, the work conducted on strategic analysis, evidenced a number or challenges that research and innovation yet need to face, that are core to stimulate the advancements of related research.
H-CLOUD CC-SRIDA Main Challenges
H-CLOUD CC-SRIDA Methodology
H-CLOUD outcomes and stakeholders
H-CLOUD Logo
H-CLOUD CC-SRIDA Analysis Framework