FABRIC project forms Scientific Advisory Committee


FABRIC, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, announces the formation of a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) tasked with facilitating collaboration and providing scientific and technological review for the project. FABRIC will create a unique national research infrastructure for testing novel architectures aimed at building an extensible, more secure Internet.

With leadership from the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the FABRIC project will build a large-scale platform with storage, computational and network hardware nodes across the country that are connected by dedicated high-speed optical links. FABRIC will also link major national research facilities such as universities, national labs and supercomputing centers that generate and process enormous scientific data sets.

The SAC will help guide the project by providing recommendations and critical feedback. Initially, the focus will be on reviewing the FABRIC design to ensure it can meet the diverse research needs of the future. The committee will also facilitate critical partnerships between collaborating institutions both within and outside of the US. As work progresses, the SAC will develop grand challenges that focus on solving key research problems using the FABRIC infrastructure.

“We are excited to have key research leaders across diverse career stages in fields such as networking, computing, software and security as our Scientific Advisory Committee,” said Inder Monga, co-PI of the FABRIC project and executive director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “The work is progressing well with FABRIC, and we look forward to the committee’s guidance on building an infrastructure that can facilitate testing of radical new ideas and approaches that will help lay the groundwork for the future Internet.”

FABRIC Scientific Advisory Committee Members are:

Sujata Banerjee, VMWare Research

Terry Benzel, University of Southern California

Kaushik De, University of Texas at Arlington

Cees de Laat, University of Amsterdam

Phillipa Gill, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Abraham Matta, Boston University

Craig Partridge, Colorado State University

Jennifer Rexford, Princeton University

Scott Shenker, University of California, Berkeley

Frank Wuerthwein, University of California, San Diego

ESnet cybersecurity staff awarded the first-ever “ESNET”

Three members of the Energy Sciences Network’s Cybersecurity team – Michael Dopheide, Vlad Grigorescu, and Sam Oehlert – were recently honored with an Extra Special Noteworthy Exemplary Trophy Award for their SANS 2019 Holiday Hack Challenge entry.

“SANS is the premier security training organization for our profession. Their annual contest usually has 15,000-20,000 entries. For the past couple of years, our solutions have been used as the official answers and documentation, helping students and professionals around the world to hone their security skills. There is a real impact, and I am very proud of the team,” said Adam Slagell, Energy Sciences Network Chief Security Officer.

Dop Vlad Sam
From left to right: Michael Dopheide, Sam Oehlert, and Vlad Grigorescu

This eponymous award category called the “ESNET,” was created in reverence to the fact that all three team members asked to forgo any competition prizes. Instead, they asked that their prize be awarded to another winner.

“We felt that forgoing the prize was our small way of giving back to the community and rewarding one of the other participants, whose work should not be neglected. Honestly, this is something we look forward to every year. All three of us relish the puzzle-solving element, and our participation is really a labor of love,” said Grigorescu.  “We still felt it was important to share our report and the new techniques and tools for both offensive and defensive security we developed.”

The team notes that the SANS Holiday Hack competition is unique because the goal is to gamify cybersecurity challenges, all of which must be based on current threats. The end result is one of the best, most realistic security training, and it’s available for free, in perpetuity.

“By really pushing the envelope, we felt like we walked away from this year’s competition having significantly advanced our skills and being better able to safeguard the Energy Sciences Network. We’re incredibly honored to have an eponymous award, and to win the inaugural ‘ESNET’ award,” said Grigorescu.

This was Grigorescu’s fifth SANS Holiday Hack Competition and the fourth for Dopheide and Oehlert. All three were part of the Energy Sciences Network team that won the 2018 Grand Prize. Grigorescu’s teams also won an Honorable Mention in 2015, Best Technical Answer in 2016, and a Grand Prize in 2017.

Written by Linda Vu, Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences


Patty Giuntoli: Learning at the Speed of Life

Patty Giuntoli
Patty Giuntoli

On January 20, 2009, Patty Giuntoli was sitting in a human resources office at Berkeley Lab watching President Barack Obama being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Like him, she was starting a new job in public service too. 

Giuntoli was going to be the new director of infrastructure in Berkeley Lab’s IT division, managing the group in charge of Berkeley Lab’s local area network, desktop support, and telephone system. In 2011, she joined the Lab’s Scientific Networking division / Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) as the department head of networking and systems, where she helped design ESnet’s next-generation network, called ESnet6, and worked to shepherd it through the Department of Energy’s approval process into fruition.

Now after 11 years of Lab service, Giuntoli will be retiring on February 25.

“It wasn’t the mission that initially brought me to Berkeley Lab. I just saw the posting on LinkedIn and applied. But it was the mission that kept me here, longer than any other job in my career,” said Giuntoli. “One of the unique things about research and education that I really enjoy is the cross-collaboration. The ultimate focus is on a shared destiny – advancing science – and the mission transcends individual organizations.”

A second-generation San Franciscan, Giuntoli’s path to networking wasn’t straightforward. She received a B.S. in biophysics at the University of San Francisco and thought that she’d pursue a career in research. But the project that she hoped to work on after college didn’t receive the funding it needed, so she moved back home and looked for any job to bide time until another research opportunity.

Giuntoli would end up at GTE Lenkurt in San Carlos, working with microwave communications systems. This job marked the beginning of her 30 plus career in networking, which included stints as a telecom engineer at Bechtel, director at PG&E, VP at Oracle Corporation, and director of network services at Kaiser Permanente. Her management experience includes establishing and leading multi-functional, global organizations of over 500 people, developing and implementing business plans, technical and service strategies, and business and operational processes.

In addition to working on the ESnet6 project, Giuntoli notes that one of her greatest accomplishments at Berkeley Lab has been hiring new people into ESnet.

“I really enjoyed bringing new people in ESnet, hiring people from the outside that brought a different perspective and allowed us to get a mix of ideas. I liked putting mechanisms in place that encouraged people to think about things differently,” said Giuntoli. “This is actually what I’m going to miss most about working at ESnet – the people.”

Her advice to future generations? Act fast and don’t be afraid to fail.

“I see it as failing forward, a gift, you are learning something new every time. One thing that has been interesting to watch in research and education is how slow things move because people are waiting for things to be perfect. I say move faster and learn at the speed of life. Maybe one in 10 ideas will be a success, but that’s okay. Take a chance and put it out there,” said Giuntoli.

In retirement, Giuntoli hopes to spend more time with her grandchildren, playing golf, and painting landscapes.

Written by Linda Vu, Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

ESnet Staff Participate in 2019 CC* PI, NRP and Quilt Meetings

ESnet’s Jason Zurawski, Lauren Rotman, and Eli Dart participated in three networking research meetings last month: the National Science Foundation’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure and Cybersecurity Innovation for Cyberinfrastructure PI (CC* PI) Workshop, The Quilt, and the Third National Research Platform Workshop. The event were held September 23 – 26 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Zurawski served on the planning committee for the CC* PI workshop and Dart gave a talk there entitled “Data Mobility Exhibition Motivations and Next Steps,” while Rotman served on the workshop program committee for the Third National Research Platform Workshop.

In addition, ESnet is co-PI with Indiana University on the Engagement and Performance Operations Center (EPOC), which is funded by NSF. During the CC* PI workshop, staff from ESnet and EPOC were involved in several events, including:

  • Led a half-day workshop with the University of Chicago/Globus entitled “The Data Mobility Workshop & Exhibition”; the focus of this event was to draw attention to the importance of a strategy for scientific data movement.
  • Led a session on “speed learning” entitled “Starting a Conversation with the Scientific Community and Strategies to Increasing Adoption & Awareness.”
  • EPOC led a panel discussion on “How Regional Partnerships with National Performance Engineering and Outreach Initiatives are Enabling Science.”

Meanwhile, during The Quilt meeting, EPOC gave a lightning talk on its scientific deep dives, which are similar to the ESnet requirements review and discuss scientific drivers and use of technology.

ESnet to Support Leading-Edge Demos at SC18

During SC18, ESnet staff will be working with other research organizations and vendors to support a series of demos at the forefront of networking, including the use of new hardware and software. These demos include:

  • SENSE: In collaboration with two universities and three national laboratories, ESnet will demonstrate its Software-defined Network for End-to-end Networked Science at Exascale research project.
Topology of the SENSE demo at SC18.
  • FAUCET: ESnet is collaborating with the University of Waikato in New Zealand and the faucet Foundation on a very large, never-before-done deployment of the Faucet controller, which was created to bring the benefits of software-defined networking to a typical enterprise network and has been deployed in various settings.
  • Monon400: As part of the Network Research Exhibition (NRE) at SC18, ESnet is collaborating with Indiana University (IU), Ciena and Internet2 to power Monon400, the fastest network ever built for research and education.

Read the full story.

Faucet – Enterprise SDN from an office to multi-terabit SCinet at SC18

This post is written by ESnet Director, Inder Monga, and shared through a personal lens, other perspectives may vary

I wanted to share a remarkable effort happening in the field of networking that is going to be shown in production at the Supercomputing 2018 as part of SCinet. Most of the people working in the SC booths (or even at SCinet) may never realize the role they are playing in moving the field of networking to the next level. Let me share some history [and you can skip the Background section to go straight to the main essence of the blog], and talk about the international, collaborative effort at play here.

Background: my software-driven journey

This is being shared by the perspective of the writer’s journey, other perspectives may vary

From the early 2000’s, the dream that excited me was building software layer that would manage networks and expose the network black-box as a set of ‘knobs and dials’ that applications could use to request and customize for their purposes. A small group of us at Nortel Networks came up with an idea of CO2 aka Content over Optics in 2001 – see the slide below.

This excitement was very new and led to my most productive set of patents filed during that time. Just as the concept was taking hold, an innovative research and education network, SURFnet, decided to deploy this concept on their newly built network, and the name evolved from CO2 to DRAC aka Dynamic Resource Allocation Controller.

Independently, ESnet was on a similar journey and started working on a concept called OSCARS aka ‘On-demand Secure Circuits and Reservation System’. As the community coalesced on the same direction, multiple initiatives like OSCARS, UCLP, DRAC, MANTICORE and others started merging towards an aligned software-driven network journey for the WAN. In the meantime, the Openflow effort from Stanford driven by an enterprise-based architecture, Ethane, captured the hearts of many, and the ‘Software-Defined Network’ (SDN) wave was born.

I am going to skip discussing the twists and turns of the evolution of SDN in industry, where there have been many recent articles on whether OpenFlow is dead. In fact there is a grassroots and under-the-radar SDN/Openflow effort that started in New Zealand called Faucet that proves these concepts are still alive and well, and are poised to thrive! In fact this work recently won the award in the New Zealand Open Source Software Project Award.


Faucet at ESnet

Ever since I was invited to join the Faucet Foundation Board, I was insistent that I ‘eat my own dog food’. With the help of Josh Bailey and Simeon Miteff, I began running a faucet controlled switch (OpenFlow is not dead) in my office as my only bridge into the Lab’s network and the Internet, i.e. if faucet did not work, I could not get connected! I am proud to say that other than one small self-inflicted upgrading glitch, the system has been working seamlessly over the past year no matter what I do or use in the office. You can see the couple of raspberry PIs running the SDN controller working with a commercial off-the-shelf switch in the image below.

[I wish it was cleaner picture, but I had to get everything together to click a photograph without my desk in the way.]

Then my colleague, Nick Buraglio, and I decided, why not wire our satellite branch office with faucet based networking than buy traditional switches? With Josh (Bailey)’s help, Nick has now wired the lives of eight of ESnet’s key employees to be dependent on faucet and he has been having a blast (no downtime there either)! Read more about his journey on his own private blog: http://www.forwardingplane.net/2018/11/faucet-enterprise-openflow-in-production/

Faucet at SCinet, SC18

I may have led you on and will keep the suspense on for a bit longer….Faucet is being showcased in SCinet as production SDN controller managing a portion of the booth networks. SC18 is in two weeks and I encourage all of you to stop by SCinet to see it working! Reach out to the faucet champions – Josh Bailey, Brad Cowie, Richard Nelson, Nick Buraglio and Kate Mace who can talk you through the intricacies of the faucet deployment there. Poseidon, as you see printed on one of the raspberry pi’s in the image above, is also being featured at SC as it integrates learning and security with faucet.

More details on this topic will be available after SC is over. In the meantime, do check out Nick’s blog for the engineering details. An image from the recent multi-vendor plugfest at SCinet staging in Dallas to – yes, vendors support this.

Look forward to seeing you all in Dallas as all of us continue on this journey


ESnet Director Inder Monga to Deliver Keynote at CNSM Conference Nov. 7

ESnet Director Inder Monga will deliver a keynote address at the 14th International Conference on Network and Service Management (CNSM), which takes place Nov. 5-9, 2018 at the International University of Languages and Media in Rome, Italy.

His talk, “Quantifying Your Network: Building a Network Fitbit,” will focus on the trend toward analytics-driven networking and the resulting challenges and opportunities for research and education networks.

“Applications want more instrumentation from the network, and so do network engineers,” said Monga. “As the era of ‘gut-feel networking’ passes to analytics-driven networking, more and more data about networks, including the constituent flows, will need to be being tracked and retrieved. With networks becoming an effective sensor, new methods are being proposed to manage the streaming telemetry.”

Monga’s talk is scheduled for November 7.

OSCARS Upgraded to Support Big Science Collaborations

Upgrades include a programmable API, graphical interface and ability to make multi-point reservations


The Energy Sciences Network’s (ESnet’s) award-winning OSCARS (On-demand Secure Circuits and Reservation System) has just been upgraded. The tool, now called OSCARS 1.0, allows network engineers to make multi-point bandwidth reservations and features a new programmable API and graphical user interface.

OSCARS is a software service that creates dedicated bandwidth channels for scientists who need to move massive, time-critical data sets around the world. The previous iteration, called OSCARS version 0.6, was finalized and released in 2012. In 2013, it was recognized as one of R&D Magazine’s top 100 technologies.

“OSCARS 1.0 brings a lot of engineering improvements to the tool,” said ESnet Engineer Evangelos Chaniotakis, who led the upgrade. “We simplified the architecture so that engineers can connect more tools. We also made improvements to pathfinder so that users can choose between different flavors of path finding. Now instead of just looking for the shortest path, users can make requests like ‘find me the path with the least amount of devices,’ which ensures resiliency.”

According to Chaniotakis, the most visible change to the tool is the user interface, which now has an almost fully graphical view of the network and the connections on it. Before, users would see this information in a spreadsheet. He notes that with a few clicks of the mouse, OSCAR 1.0 users can get a pretty complex network setup with information about quality of service, network constrains, and scheduling, among other data. OSCARS 1.0 will also continue to support the MSI protocol for international collaborations.

“We’ve deployed OSCARS 1.0 at a few selected sites, and it is considerably faster. I was able set up hundreds of connections with this updated version in the same time it took me to do 10 connections with the previous version,” says John MacAuley, an ESnet Software Architect, who helped test OSCARS 1.0.

The tool also allows engineers to automatically provision jobs on the network, which is especially useful for long-haul, day-to-day tasks for large experiments like the Large Hadron Collider, as well as research projects that require complicated network topologies. Chaniotakis notes that this automatic provisioning is less burdensome for network engineers who used to manually set up these tasks. It will also become a crucial tool as ESnet continues to grow.

Read about the R&D award for OSCARS 0.6: https://cs.lbl.gov/news-media/news/2013/esnet-s-on-demand-bandwidth-reservation-service-wins-r-and-d-100-award/

-Written by Linda Vu

ESnet’s Network, Software Help SLAC Move 1 Petabyte in Record Time

Using a 5,000-mile network loop operated by ESnet, researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) and Zettar Inc. recently transferred 1 petabyte  in 29 hours, with encryption and checksumming, beating last year’s record by 5 hours, an almost 15 percent improvement.

The project is aimed at achieving the high data transfer rates needed to accommodate the amount of data to be generated by the Linac Coherent Light Source II (LCLS II), which is expected to come online in 2020. The LCLS is the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) and its strobe-like pulses are just a few millionths of a billionth of a second long, and a billion times brighter than previous X-ray sources. LCLS II will provide a major jump in capability – moving from 120 pulses per second to 1 million pulses per second. Scientists use LCLS to take crisp pictures of atomic motions, watch chemical reactions unfold, probe the properties of materials and explore fundamental processes in living things.

The increased capability is expected to generate data transfers of multiple terabits per second– as the experimental results are sent from SLAC to Department of Energy’s (DOE) supercomputing facilities for analysis. As the DOE’s dedicated network user facility for scientific research, ESnet carries data between universities and DOE’s national laboratories and national user facilities along a multi-100 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) backbone network.

This screen shot from MyESnet shows the southern links of the network dark red, indicating data transfers exceeding 50 Gbps during the 5,000-mile transfer conducted by SLAC and Zettar Inc.

Network share

Read the full story.

Meet Adam Slagell, ESnet’s New Chief Security Officer

As ESnet’s new chief security officer, Adam Slagell will head the facility’s security team and generate a security strategy for the network. He will also join the organization’s senior leadership team and provide valuable input into the growing network’s strategic direction.

Slagell comes to ESnet from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) where he spent the last 15 years of his career and was promoted several times. After joining NCSA in 2003 as a security engineer, he was promoted to Senior Security Engineer in 2007, then to Senior Security Engineer and Chief Information Security Officer in 2012, Assistant Director of the Cybersecurity Directorate and Chief Information Security Officer in 2013, and Cybersecurity and Networking Division Director and Chief Information Security Officer in 2016.

During this time at NCSA, he also served as principal investigator and co-principal investigator on a number of grants. He was co-PI for the Bro Project in collaboration with researchers in UC Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute and Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division and served as the first chair of the Bro Project’s leadership team. He was also security operations co-lead and the security officer for the XSEDE federation, a single virtual system that scientists can use to interactively share computing resources, data, and expertise; and developed the policies and procedures for the first HIPAA enclave on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

“What brings me to ESnet is a chance to do something new and still be close to open scientific research,” said Slagell. “For most of my career I’ve been focused on data center security, but at ESnet we’re looking at security on a wide area network. We are providing high-bandwidth services to a whole bunch of customers around the world and we have a responsibility to protect those resources.”

Born and raised in Northern Illinois, Slagell received his masters degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003, a masters and bachelors degree in mathematics from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and 1999, respectively.

“I was really ahead of the game in mathematics,” said Slagell. “I was taking college-level math classes in high school and in college I got into cryptography primarily though independent study. This eventually led me to computer security, which I loved because it allowed me to do pure math while staying close to computers, which is something I’ve always been interested in.”

Slagell will be working remotely from Illinois. He is an active power-lifter and biker. He rides his bike 10 miles every day to get to work, even in Illinois winter and summer. In his spare time, he is active in a charity that his wife co-founded called CU Able, which is a support network for families of individuals with disabilities.

Written by Linda Vu