World’s Fastest Computer Network Coming to Denver
This week in Denver, Colorado, The Colorado Convention Center will be home to the fastest computer network, SCinet. The massive 1 Terabit network, was built over the last 12 months by over 100 volunteer engineers representing industry, academia and government institutions and more than $20 million in donated equipment along with 90-plus miles of newly-installed fiber cable lines in the Convention Center. SCinet, will support more than 10,000 conference attendees as they unveil their latest innovations in high-performance computing applications throughout the weeklong event. As it does each year, SCinet will be provisioning an unprecedented amount of bandwidth into the conference’s host location and will connect multiple 100G circuits in collaboration with leading national and international research networks, resulting in total bandwidth of nearly 1 Terabit per second.
SC13 will not only showcase the next-generation of high performance computing applications but it will also be home to several innovative network research projects through a special program called the SCinet Network Research Exhibition (NRE). As a key component of SCinet, the NRE is designed to enable researchers to experiment and demonstrate their ideas on innovative network architectures, applications and protocols in the unique live environment of the SCinet network. This year, the NRE will provide researchers with dedicated access to multiple 100 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) wide area network links.
For more information on selected NRE projects that will be showcased as part of the Conference program and demonstrated in several booths visit: http://sc13.supercomputing.org/content/scinet-network-research-exhibition
If you are planning to attend SC13, don’t miss our Quilt members’ booths which include Great Plains Network (1341), Indiana University (1317), MREN/StarLight as part of the Laboratory for Advanced Computing/Open Cloud (828), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (818), Ohio Supercomputing Center (2713), Pacific Wave (326), Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (1132), the University of Utah (3327) among others.
Two Great Conferences This Week
I’m looking forward to attending two great conferences this week. The first is the BCNET conference, which takes place April 30 through May 1st in Vancouver, British Columbia. At the conference, I will have the opportunity to connect again with our Canadian R&E colleagues after their recent attendance of our Quilt Winter Member Meeting in La Jolla, Calif. While at the BCNET conference, I’ll be participating in a panel on U.S. R&E networks along with Sherilyn Evans from the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) and Amy Philipson from Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP)
Later this week, the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition hosts its annual conference in Washington, DC. The group advocates for the deployment of affordable, open, high-capacity broadband networks and faster Internet services for schools, libraries, health care providers and other community anchor institutions.
The title of this year’s gathering, which runs May 1 through May 3, is "Getting to Gigabit: The Future of Broadband for Anchor Institutions and Their Communities." As a member of the conference’s program committee, I’m confident that this will be the best one yet, with a top-notch group of speakers and attendees including several federal and state policymakers, BTOP/BIP awardees, national educational leaders, as well as leaders from our Quilt member organizations.
Big Data and the Role of Advanced Regional Networks
Our Quilt members play a critical role in aggregating support for big data, and the importance of that role was highlighted in an excellent presentation at the Internet2 Spring 2013 Member Conference this week.
The panelists included: Mark Johnson from MCNC; Steven Corbato from the University of Utah and the Utah Education Network; Marla Meehl from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Front Range GigaPoP; and Wendy Huntoon from the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Three Rivers Optical Exchange and Internet2.
These panelists had recently attended a workshop focused on the role of advanced regional networks (ARNs) in supporting big data. The workshop was a follow-on to an earlier, National Science Foundation-funded workshop on the role of ARNs in connecting community anchor institutions.
While there is no question that Quilt members’ support for big data requirements is critical, the specifics surrounding these roles present a host of challenges. The panelists noted that there is no practical way for network capabilities to move the exponentially growing amount of data being generated. Instead, we need to work on changing the paradigm by developing an integrated solution that minimizes which data is moved, streamlines what is saved, standardizes metadata and invests in resources to develop data services, tools and standards.
We also need to educate users. The panelists said that one important role for regional networks is to help disseminate best practices among those scientific research disciplines which are leaders in managing big data to other research disciplines.
More information about this recent workshop can be found at: https://www.mcnc.org/envision. One outcome of the workshop will be a white paper that captures the recommendations for ARNs as critical partners in supporting data driven science. When available, we’ll make this document available to our community.
The Quilt’s OpenFlow Technologies Webinar Series
Since launching our Quilt webinar series on OpenFlow technologies in the last month, I’ve been quite pleased with the participation and positive feedback I’ve been getting from those who joined us.
In our first session, we were fortunate to have Steve Garrison, Pica8’s VP of product marketing, co-host a discussion with his colleague David Liu, Pica8’s chief architect, and Quilt member Bill Owens of NYSERNet, who has been working with OpenFlow for the past year and is the Quilt vendor liaison with Pica8. David and Bill walked us through a detailed example involving an OpenFlow open-source controller and open-source virtual switch, and a physical switch that supports this Layer 2 communications protocol. You can access the Pica8 presentation here: http://www.thequilt.net/images/stories/attachments/quilt%20webcast%20013012.pdf
In our second webinar, I was joined by Matrix Integration vice president Chad Williams and HP Networking’s Steve Brar. Steve runs product marketing for HP’s enterprise campus networking infrastructure and software-defined networking solutions. We learned about HP’s SDN technologies, which are targeted at simplifying networks and improving agility across the organization. Access the presentation from this webinar here: http://www.thequilt.net/images/stories/attachments/2013feb04_2013_sdn_thequiltwebinar.pdf
EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Denver - November 2012
I appreciated the chance to join about 8,000 IT leaders from higher education and R&E networking at EDUCAUSE’s annual conference last week in Denver. Of particular relevance for The Quilt community were sessions addressing the key IT challenges facing campuses: 1) Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) management strategies; 2) institutional strategies for managing “big data;” and 3) campus policies for deciding what information and applications are acceptable to place in the “cloud.”
The BYOD panel, consisting of IT execs from Pepperdine University, Rowan University and Bradford Networks, suggested prioritizing risks and performing fit-gap analysis for existing policies and BYOD policies and asking the following questions: Do you need a separate BYOD policy? Or, just marketing/training around existing policies and how they apply to mobile devices?
On the topic of managing “big data,” IT and administrative representatives from Lehigh University and also the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shared Lehigh University's strategic storage planning initiative, which studied current storage practices in order to devise a plan to respond to the exponential growth in demand for data storage. The panel recommended the following areas as particularly important to consider when developing a “big data” game plan: i) create & share; ii) store & protect; iii) analyze & publish; iv) remix & curate.
The campus policy discussion at the meeting was an open forum where campus IT leaders came together to share common ideas, issues and considerations for campus IT priorities. The discussion focused on new campus IT policy considerations for storing institutional data in the public vs. private cloud. Representatives from the different institutions described their own campus efforts to define or classify data in order to make decisions on the most appropriate location for the data to be stored and archived while adhering to the protection requirements of transmitting and storing sensitive information.
R&E networks are operating in an environment of fast-paced change with new opportunities and requirements from a growing number of stakeholders. At this week’s Internet2 Fall Member Meeting, representatives of three Quilt members will share how they managed to not only cope with change, but thrive and build the foundation for sustainable growth.
Dave Lois of WiscNet, Wendy Huntoon of 3ROX/Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and George Laskaris of NJEDge.Net will address specific questions designed to optimize community sharing and learning about strategies for adapting to change through innovation, including new applications, new service and delivery models and shared services with peers.
This panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, October 3rd from 1:15-2:45 in Liberty A/B for those in attendance at the meeting. The panel will also be webcast. I encourage anyone attending the Internet2 meeting to join the discussion on this very timely topic. Carol Farnham of MIDnet, Quilt associate member, and myself will also be adding in our perspectives.
Private Sector Impact of BTOP Grants to R&E Networks
In this video interview from May’s SHLB-NTIA Conference, president and CEO of Quilt member MCNC Joe Freddoso does a great job of describing the private sector impact of BTOP grants to research & education networks.
In MCNC’s case, they passed through $143 out of $144 million in BTOP grant funds to private sector companies, such as engineering firms and makers of fiber-optic cable and conduit. Joe describes a conduit plant in Hickory, North Carolina that had been idled and is now back online, employing several hundred people, thanks to business from MCNC and other BTOP award winners.
Quilt Members are Featured Panelists on Shared Services at BCNET Conference
CENIC, the PNWGP and The Quilt were invited to showcase current opportunities and priorities for U.S. regional networks as well as share our experiences with moving to shared services models at the annual BCNET conference May 1-3, 2012 hosted by our neighbor to the north.
Regional Networks: Different Aspects to Building Community
Regional Networks: Different Aspects to Building Community
I had the pleasure of serving on a panel at the Internet2 Spring Member Meeting with representatives of Quilt participants: OneNet; MOREnet; Utah Education Network (UEN); Merit Network; OARnet and NJEDge. It was a dynamic discussion among the panel about building communities of practice, both within our constituency groups and across research & education networking communities and the different forms community building can take.
The Quilt Circle 2012 is Ready!
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