ANN ARBOR — Merit Network Inc. announced Tuesday that it will provide hosted, managed services to research and eduation organizations outside its membership under Internet2’s NET+ Services to Internet2 member organizations and InCommon subscribers.

As part of a new agreement, services from two major product lines of Merit’s services portfolio, Merit Hosted Applications and Merit Hosted Infrastructure, are now also offerings under the Internet2 NET+ Service portfolio.

“As the longest running Regional Optical Network in America, Merit Network has built a successful track record through collaboration,” said Merit president and CEO Don Welch. “Merit will continue to support our Members and fellow RONs across the country with opportunities for direct collaboration and service offerings that support the strategic goals of research and education…. The hosted, managed services Merit will offer as part of Internet2’s NET+ Service Portfolio will provide more organizations in the greater educational community with the same opportunities for cost savings and operational efficiencies that Merit Members and other RONs currently benefit from.”

The MeritMail Collaboration Suite (MeritMail) will be the first Merit Hosted Application service offered to Internet2 members. Powered by Zimbra, MeritMail is a collaboration suite that includes email, calendaring, and document sharing — all accessible from a dynamic Web interface. Merit currently manages over 400,000 MeritMail accounts and is the largest Zimbra hosted email provider for .edu.

Two additional hosted applications that Merit will offer through Internet2 NET+ Services are MeritList Manager, allowing Members to manage large distribution lists and send email to many subscribers at once, and Merit WebConnect, an enterprise-level web conferencing solution.

Internet2 and InCommon members, along with Merit Members, are now able to purchase Merit Hosted Infrastructure to meet their individual needs. Three Merit Cloud Storage offerings are available: Archive Storage, Remote Backup Storage and Merit VirtualDataCenters.

“Key benefits of these Merit Hosted Applications and Hosted Infrastructure services include retaining complete ownership and integrity of user data, assurance that Members’ data resides in Merit’s Community Cloud, 24/7/365 support from the Merit Support Center and no I/O costs,” said Leslie Williamson, director of Merit Services. “We’re excited about providing these benefits to institutions in the broader R&E community in support of their strategic objectives.”


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