News

The Quilt celebrates 20 years with Virtual Fall Member Meeting October 14, 2020

The Quilt, a consortium of regional Research and Education (R&E) Networks throughout the United States, celebrated its 20th anniversary by hosting it’s first-ever virtual Fall Member Meeting on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Nearly 175 registered attendees and stakeholders gathered online to collectively advance networking for research and education throughout the United States. The integration of Zoom and Slack created a true interactive experience. It’s something The Quilt President and CEO Jen Leasure said was a pleasant surprise.

“We always look forward to our in-person Quilt community gatherings,” commented Leasure. “But this year’s Fall Member Meeting was unique. One benefit of using this virtual format is the number of additional Quilt member staff who are not typically able to attend our in-person events were able to join this virtual event – new participants in our Quilt community is a benefit to all! I’m pleased that these new individuals got to see and learn what The Quilt is all about and to have the opportunity to be exposed to many exciting conversations, make new connections, and grow their professional networks.”

The program included several plenary sessions particularly relevant to the research and education networking community and our roles in addressing the challenges of the pandemic.

Six IT executives from a diverse set of our country’s higher education campuses connected to Quilt member networks conducted an insightful panel discussion on their academic technology plans, priorities, challenges, and implementations to prepare for a fall semester like no other. Key takeaways included insights into how these institutions tailored technology plans to their student populations and how campuses leveraged existing business continuity plans to address new challenges. After this panel, meeting participants came away with a greater appreciation for the innovative leadership of these individuals and their campuses to provide academic continuity as well as support for the health and well-being of their students, faculty and staff. The panelists included: John P. Barden, Chief Information Officer, Yale University; Ryan Blastick, Assistant Vice President for Shared Services, Ivy Tech Community College; Damian Clarke, Chief Information officer, Alabama A&M University; Diane Dagefoerde, Deputy Chief Information Officer, The Ohio State University; Sandra K. Warner, Executive Director of Business Continuity & Risk Management, Johnson County Community College in Kansas; and Cas D’Angelo, Associate Vice President of IT and Chief Operating Officer at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is also the current chair of The Quilt Board of Directors and President of Southern Crossroads (SoX).

Jon Sallet, Senior Fellow, and Jordan Arnold, Research Assistant, from the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society presented on Broadband for America Now: Open Access Middle Mile Networks and Competition. In October 2019, the Benton Institute issued Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s. At the time of the report, we did not know how dramatically the world would change because of the pandemic. The use of broadband now is even greater, including for work, learning, health care, government services, and democracy. Affordable, high-performance broadband to homes is more important than ever. Sallet’s presentation stressed the importance of middle-mile networks, such as R&E networks, in expanding broadband access and the role that the federal government can take to help accelerate the extension of these networks into unserved and underserved areas.

Kevin Thompson, Program Manager for the National Science Foundation, shared a report on the latest grants from the NSF’s campus cyberinfrastructure program.  Mr. Thompson shared data on the number of grants awarded as well as the impact of these grants on advancing university campus scientific discovery. The NSF’s campus cyberinfrastructure program is a vital resource for the R&E networking community. Quilt member organizations play an important role in both leading grants as well as supporting member institutions in their program participation.

The IT Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) is a volunteer driven, nonprofit that provides emergency communications and technology resources to help communities continue operations and transition to recovery after a disaster. ITDRC shares a common goal with Quilt members to connect learners to the internet as part of our education missions.  Joe Hillis, executive director of ITDRC, presented on ITDRC and its valuable collaborations with Quilt member organizations to address urgent community broadband needs during the pandemic.

And, there were numerous breakout sessions focused on budget planning, cybersecurity, cloud access, eSports and more, just to name a few. Pre-meeting sessions featured a presentation by NOAA on N-Wave and Regional Partners and best practices in hosting a virtual conference.

Another part of the online interactive experience allowed for a bit fun. Throughout the two-day event, attendees were able to participate in The Quilt Games intended to incorporate a personal aspect into the meeting. Added Leasure, “the virtual environment gave us a chance to connect with our community in different ways this year and we took full advantage of it.”

The Quilt is the national coalition of non-profit U.S. regional research and education networks representing 40 networks across the country. Members of The Quilt provide advanced network services and applications to over 900 universities and tens of thousands of other educational and community anchor institutions. Together, we promote consistent, reliable, inter-operable and efficient advanced networking services that extend to the broadest possible community and represent common interests in the development and delivery of advanced cyberinfrastructure that enables innovation through our education and research mission.

The next member meeting for The Quilt is scheduled for early February 2021.

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The Quilt expands technology services to R&E networks with Carahsoft September 16, 2020

The Quilt, a consortium of regional Research and Education (R&E) Networks throughout the United States, today announced that Carahsoft Technology Corp. has been awarded an amendment to its Master Service Agreement, adding solutions from 25 technology manufacturers to the contract and making more than 70 solutions providers available to the education and non-profit marketplace through The Quilt and its authorized reseller partners.

The agreement is effective through May 2022 and includes two additional option years for a five-year total period of performance. Carahsoft and authorized reseller partners will jointly provide products and services, including software licenses, managed services, cloud subscription services, training, and professional services and hardware.

Click here to view all the newly-awarded solutions providers.

The Quilt, a non-profit coalition of 38 regional research and education networks across the country, leverages the collective purchasing power of its membership and their authorized member institutions to cost-effectively purchase advanced networking technology and services. Participating member institutions that utilize the Carahsoft’s Master Service Agreement will benefit not only from access to dozens of technology solutions with special discounted pricing and a simplified procurement process but also Carahsoft’s experience meeting the technology needs of public sector and educational institutions.

“In 2016, The Quilt Community initially came together to provide our members and institutions with a publicly sourced, pre-competed contract for VMware technologies,” said Jen Leasure, President and CEO for The Quilt. “In 2019, we initiated another competitive process in order to include Palo Alto Networks, Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies, Veeam, and HPE. We have continually recognized a growing need for alternative and complimentary technologies due to the diversity of our member institutions. Carahsoft has been an indispensable partner, keeping a finger on the pulse of our national Quilt community and advising us on trending and sought-after technologies. Through this amendment process, we have been able to provide our national community with the products and services they need to strengthen and grow their technology footprint with the purchasing flexibility that these rapidly changing times demand.”

Carahsoft’s commitment to partnering with The Quilt Community began in May 2016 when it secured its original Distribution Partner Master Service Agreement to distribute VMware and AirWatch solutions to authorized Quilt buyers. This agreement has been expanded with this amendment to offer products and services from more than 70 authorized manufacturers and allows Carahsoft to add additional technology solutions as agreed upon by The Quilt. This broadened offering allows Quilt members and their authorized buyers to procure solutions from Carahsoft and Quilt authorized resellers that cover multiple verticals, including data center modernization, virtualization, cybersecurity, and cloud services and infrastructure.

“Now more than ever, the public sector needs tools and services that they can trust to securely support digital services and remote workforces,” said Martin Gavin, Program Manager for The Quilt at Carahsoft. “So, we are very pleased to offer an expanded pool of leading technology manufacturers to better meet the needs of our educational institutions and nonprofits across the nation. We are also proud to partner with The Quilt to streamline access to these solutions at lower costs to maximize investment and ensure they can continue to fulfill their missions.”

Carahsoft’s authorized solutions providers are available through The Quilt Master Service Agreement Number MSA05012019-F. To learn more, visit Carahsoft’s dedicated resource page or contact The Quilt team at Carahsoft at (703) 673-3518 or Quilt@Carahsoft.com.

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About Carahsoft
Carahsoft Technology Corp. is The Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider®. As a top-performing GSA Schedule and SEWP contract holder, Carahsoft serves as the Master Government Aggregator® for many of its best-of-breed technology vendors, supporting an extensive ecosystem of manufacturers, value-added resellers, system integrators and consulting partners committed to helping government agencies select and implement the best solution at the best possible value.

The company’s dedicated Solutions Divisions proactively market, sell and deliver VMware, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, Veritas, McAfee, Dell, Adobe, F5 Networks, Google Cloud, ServiceNow, Open Source, Micro Focus Government Solutions, SAP, Salesforce, and Innovative and Intelligence products and services, among others. Carahsoft is consistently recognized by its partners as a top revenue producer and is listed annually among the industry’s fastest growing and largest firms by CRN, Inc., Forbes, Washington Technology, The Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, and Bloomberg Government. Visit us at www.carahsoft.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About The Quilt
The Quilt is the national coalition of non-profit U.S. regional research and education networks representing 48 networks across the country. Members of The Quilt provide advanced network services and applications to over 900 universities and thousands of other educational and community anchor institutions. Together, we promote consistent, reliable, inter-operable and efficient advanced networking services that extend to the broadest possible community and represent common interests in the development and delivery of advanced cyberinfrastructure that enables innovation through our education and research mission. Visit www.thequilt.net and follow on Twitter @TweetTheQuilt.

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Link Oregon on Research Data in Action: Broadband Support for Disaster Early Warning Systems September 14, 2020

The 2020 wildfire season exploded well ahead of schedule this year under conditions of record low humidity, extreme winds, and scorching temperatures—Death Valley reached 130 degrees last month, the highest mercury reading on Earth in almost 90 years. Fires ignited by epic storms, human error, and, reportedly, even by intention are currently ravaging huge swaths of California, Oregon, Washington, and other western states. Communities already facing loss and hardship related to COVID-19 are now scrambling to protect family, businesses, livestock, and property. And, due to the fires, the air quality in Oregon is currently the worst in the world. Our thoughts go out to everyone in harm’s way.

As Link Oregon architects its statewide fiber broadband network, we are considering the access and data transmission needs of our partners in research, education, healthcare, and public service. This translates into an opportunity to bolster the efficacy of two early warning systems—ALERTWildfire and ShakeAlert®—that are working to reduce the devastating impact of wildfires and earthquakes. Both collaborations extend across multiple US states and are particularly important in the West, where these events occur with greater frequency.

Doug Toomey—a professor in the Earth Sciences department at the University of Oregon (UO), director of the Oregon Hazards Lab (O-HAZ), and a pioneer in the use of ocean-bottom seismology to study tectonic and volcanic processes—oversees both the ALERTWildfire and ShakeAlert programs for Oregon. Doug is a colleague and a friend, and the University of Oregon is one of Link Oregon’s five founding members. [Read the full Link Oregon Blog Post by Steve Corbato]

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