Author Archives: fdgadmin

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 itsannual 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: 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: Quilt Webcast 2001-30-12.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: The Quilt Webinar.pdf

These webinars are not only open to The Quilt’s members and its authorized buyers for its consortium purchase program, but also to any member of our R&E networking community who wishes to join. If your organization or institution is thinking about deploying OpenFlow technology, you won’t want to miss any of the upcoming webinars from other Authorized Quilt Providers. If you wish to be added to our announcement list for the upcoming webinars, please drop me a line at

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.

Quilt Members at Internet2 Fall Meeting: Finding Growth through Innovation

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.

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!

What I think may be our best edition yet of The Quilt’s annual showcase of the many contributions Quilt members make to research, education and communities across the country is now available as a PDF on The Quilt’s Resource page. If you’d like print copies, please contact us at

The White House Recognizes Two Quilters as Champions of Change

Three years ago this week, President Obama signed into law our nation’s Recovery Act. Today, The White House recognized 11 community leaders from around the country who are engaged in Recovery Act funded projects to improve their communities and put Americans back to work. We are pleased that two leaders from our Quilt community who are focused on implementing Department of Commerce BTOP funded broadband infrastructure projects were included among those leaders honored today.

Joe Freddoso, President and CEO of MCNC, and Donald Welch, President and CEO of Merit Network Inc, were honored at the White House today as “Champions of Change”. Don, Joe and their respective organizations embody the spirit of the BTOP program through the deployment advanced fiber optic network infrastructure in their states to better serve community anchor institutions with improved broadband connectivity through the projects’ successful public/private partnerships. They have also been extraordinary ambassadors for our research and education networking community to those involved in the management of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.

Congratulations to Don and Joe on their well-deserved recognition at today’s White House ceremony.

To watch this event see: