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CEO Sit-Down Interview with Dave Porter Director of Media and Network Services at the University of Rhode Island

Posted By Leticia T. O'Neill, Monday, July 27, 2015
Updated: Monday, July 27, 2015

CEO Sit-Down Interview with Dave Porter Director of Media and Network Services at the University of Rhode Island 


Dave Marble sits down with URI’s Dave Porter (Director of Media and Network Services and OSEHAN Board Member) to talk about where they see OSHEAN evolving over the next few years.


Watch here.

CEO Sit-Down Interview with Dave Porter, URI

Tags:  Network Services  Rhode Island  University of Rhode Island  URI 

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Can we be the “Biggest Little State”?

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, June 3, 2015


As I write this, I am on a plane flying back from Oklahoma where I was visiting OneNet, the Oklahoma Regional Research and Education Network (REN).  I am always struck by the challenges the larger state RENs have in just reaching their member sites, not only with physical connections but with the necessary face to face sessions necessary to move projects along.  Even though I am a massive fan of technology, I still think there is strength in face to face communications.  OneNet is challenged to visit their members even once a year.  Even with videoconferencing, they are at a disadvantage compared to RI when looking at designing and implementing statewide programs and projects.  The question is, have we taken advantage?


I am convinced RI doesn’t view its size as an asset nor does it take advantage of what can be done given the fact that we can pretty much get anywhere in the state in 30 minutes.  We have wonderful opportunities to drive efficiency statewide leveraging our infrastructure to reduce duplication while driving use of underutilized assets.  Moreover, we have the opportunity to design new and innovative statewide services for areas like Adult Education, Healthcare and Municipalities.  Imagine if we looked at serving the 34 non-profits dedicated to educating our adult learners with proper broadband connectivity and access to a statewide learning management system and teaching tools.  Imagine a statewide healthcare network that reached nursing homes with the latest in tele-medicine technology thereby reducing ambulance rolls and emergency room visits.  Imagine helping the municipalities statewide with connectivity, consolidated hosting, on-line services and disaster recovery architectures.


Sometimes our size can work against us in trying to obtain grant money for connectivity.  Right now the FCC is prioritizing rural areas for investment in broadband and there is very little turf in RI classified as such.  However, that should not stop us from looking at these opportunities at a statewide level.  These types of initiatives work to the heart of topics that are on the minds of everyone I talk to here in little ole Rhody: workforce development, Improved healthcare outcomes, reduced costs and in turn, economic advantage.  I am feeling the buzz building with respect to the "can do" attitudes necessary to support initiatives like these here in the state.  I have longed for the day when we move from the proverbial "fellowship of the miserable" to this kind of optimism.  Are you detecting a change?


Sing with me now….”We're the biggest little state in the union, Rhode Island, Rhode Island”

Tags:  Broadband  Communications  Research  Rhode Island  Technology 

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Posted By David Marble, Monday, March 30, 2015
Updated: Monday, March 30, 2015

In 1979, I was in the second row of a Kinks concert at the Providence Civic Center singing the words to “LOLA” at the top of my lungs.  I can proudly say that the event was recorded and I am now immortalized on the Kinks “One for the Road” live album…..along with about 10,000 others.  This past week I was reading about another LOLA (LOw LAtency) technology which is helping musicians collaborate over Internet2. (

I quickly tweeted “This is why I love our field” when I read the article.  The idea that technology has brought geographically dispersed musicians together to collaborate and perform, points at some of the power we are unlocking by building the networks we do.  Maybe my love of music caused me to highlight the application but often we tend to focus on the negatives of technology rather than the wonders.  Some might say that many network and application level technologies promote more isolation not less.  I would argue that it is breaking down isolationist barriers everyday by easing collaboration.  The LOLA technology in the article vastly reduces delays across a network and combined with the ultra-fast networks of the R&E community and Internet 2, musicians can practice and actually have performances in real time while sitting in different countries.  Applications traversing R&E networks today allow researchers across the globe from diverse institutions and diverse disciplines to participate in a project completely independent of where that project is housed.

In the NY/New England, the R&E community is building an extraordinary platform for cooperation and collaboration.  This regional platform network is capable of delivering 1G, 10G and 100G services over an advanced IP infrastructure which has been developed in cooperation with regional partners Northeast Regional Education Network (NEREN), the Connecticut Education Network (CEN) and the Northern Crossroads (NoX) GigaPop in Cambridge.  Assets and connectivity region wide now become accessible to our membership.  OSHEAN, for instance, has built a partnership with NaviSite for on-net cloud services that a University in Connecticut, for example, can take advantage of.  Hospitals in RI can build networks to the hospitals in Boston and on and on.  The realization of this vision, while conceived a number of years ago, is just now coming to tangible fruition.  Significant technical work coupled with a vibrant spirit of cooperation has brought us into a new age of capability and possibilities.


“She walked up to me and she asked me to dance”…..

Tags:  Broadband  Low Latency  Northeast Regional Education Network  Northern Crossroads  Technology 

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"Tis the Season

Posted By David Marble, Friday, December 19, 2014
Updated: Saturday, December 20, 2014


I stopped in yesterday at Quidnessett Elementary School to listen to the holiday concert put on by the students.  My wife works there in the after school programs so I try and do what I can to show support for their activities but the truth is that I am a sucker for kids performing in the arts.  I just love that stuff.  One of the songs had 25 first graders doing a snowflake dance that drew my attention to just how different and hysterical each interpretation was.   I get immense joy watching the individuality on display painstakingly coalesced by the music director to produce, not just a song, but a feeling of joy and community.  From this one reviewer, mission accomplished!


I usually find myself musing philosophically during these events and this occasion brought to mind synergies between what I was witnessing and the parallel to our OSHEAN tag line message this year of #StongerTogether.   Quidnessett Elementary is a school full of diversity.  It has a wide range of economic circumstance (55% poverty) and ethnic diversity.  All of the individuality and diversity however, while evident, was dwarfed by the music, family and community bonding and the holiday spirit present in that auditorium.  When I look back on this year and the kinds of work being done by our membership, I can’t help but create parallels.  OSHEAN has six distinct vertical markets with as much diversity as you can imagine, yet we find commonality and strength through the membership all the time.  Best practices are shared and the buying power of the collaborative results in lower costs for all.  Many times some of our larger Institutions will reach out and help the ones with fewer resources such as Salve Regina did this year for St. Georges School.  Collaboration is accelerating on the OSHEAN network.  URI and Brown just established a gigabit research connection and Bryant helped our AG’s office with a business continuity solution. 


So while I imagine that many might think Dave an odd duck to correlate a local kindergarten singing a carol to OSHEAN’s hashtag, I am one to honor my musings and put them out there.   'Tis the season to be jolly so on behalf of the team here at OSHEAN, I extend our best for a healthy and happy holiday season to our membership and their extended families.

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Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We have been having interesting discussions recently about the top reasons for migrating to cloud services.  Traditional thinking, including my own, predicted that the top reason would be cost.  However, consensus from most industry surveys are concluding that AGILITY is the number one driver behind cloud migrations and it leads the pack of other drivers such as cost, innovation and risk mitigation by a fair margin.  Being someone who needs to be right, I am interested to see if I can argue that being agile is a cost metric in sheep’s clothing.


As we look at costs, current models show that cloud services are relatively equivalent to asset based capital purchases if you look at the cloud operating service cost versus a hardware purchase of say, a server or storage device.  It is only when you look at what we historically have called “soft dollars” that cloud migrations become compelling.  I maintain that AGILITY fits that soft dollar category.  We call it something different than cost because it is much harder to quantify.  Each enterprise will have a different perspective on the value of agility and hence a different translation into dollars.    For example, agility is at the core of disaster recovery planning.  We have many members’ IT staffs who are measured by the speed at which they can recover from disasters.  That recovery time metric has very different value in different departments of government, education and healthcare. While I believe there may be aspects of agility that are intangible, I do think we should take a shot at the quantification, especially when justifying projects to the end user communities and the financial organization.  I can just imagine the CFO’s reaction to the CIO who says, “Trust me, we will be more agile if we move to the cloud.”


Being agile in the context of cloud services affords the IT organization to be more responsive to end user needs.  In Higher Ed, that might mean being able to spin up servers for researchers on a moment’s notice or deploying and maintaining desktops in a more efficient and rapid fashion or easily supporting BYOD.  In Healthcare, it might mean the ability to rapidly conform to dynamic regulatory and application environments for Electronic Medical Records or consistent and rapid deployment of desktops for visiting or remote doctors.  Each of these advantages can be quantified in workload dollar costs.  While I get that there is an intangible quality to agility like the a bolstering of IT’s reputation, I come back to the fact that agility saves money.  Being agile should be one of the basic tenants of any IT organization and the best Enterprise will use that agility to strategic advantage.  Being able to manage more, faster with less is the essence of agility and that’s the bottom line….pun intended. 

Tags:  Technology 

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