Berkeley Lab Collaboration with Ciena Enhances Optical Chip Design Process


A unique collaboration between a U.S. telecommunications equipment provider and a Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory has helped dramatically improve design cycle times for future high-speed optical networking components.

wl3-extreme-chipComputer scientists and mathematicians from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization worked with engineers at Ciena, a leading networking company, to speed up the process by which Ciena validates the design of its ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) chips. The collaboration grew out of the existing relationship between Ciena, a pioneer in high-bandwidth optical transport technology, and the DOE’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), which uses Ciena products to support its high-speed network.

“Modern science requires fast global networks like ESnet, and almost all DOE network traffic happens to run over optical gear from Ciena,” said ESnet Director Inder Monga. “ESnet doesn’t transport quite as much traffic as, say, Google, but we have the unique challenge of coping with massive single data streams from detectors and instruments like the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. This means we need to exploit leading-edge networking components, and we’re often early adopters of those components.”

Read more.

ESnet Begins Testing TCP-BBR


Update to underlying internet protocol promises to improve data transmission performance

With Google’s Sept. 16 release of the new TCP congestion control algorithm, BBR (Bottleneck  Bandwidth and Round Trip Time/RTT), ESnet staff are gearing up to test this promising development.

According to early reports, Google engineers reported that the new algorithm “significantly increased throughput and reduced latency.” Google cited an increase in the speed of data transfers from three megabits per second (Mbps) to 9,150 Mbps on a test link with 1% packet loss and a latency of 100 milliseconds. Early testing by ESnet engineers has shown improvements from 10x to 100x on some international paths, but no improvements on other paths.

“I’m eager to work with our Google collaborators to understand the details of how BBR works and how it may benefit data-intensive science applications in the future,” said Brian Tierney, head of ESnet’s Advanced Network Technologies Group and co-creator of ESnet’s Fasterdata website. “This is potentially a great step forward for TCP, and we’re eagerly testing BBR TCP. We’ll post results as we get them.”

More technical details will be revealed when a description of BBR appears in the September-October 2016 issue of ACM Queue. Among the developers of BBR is Van Jacobson, who was a primary contributor to the original TCP in the 1980s when he worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he led the Network Research Group.

Tierney said ESnet has begun testing BBR using the 2,000 instances of the perfSONAR network performance measurement hosts installed on research and public networks around the world. By using BBR to send data from one of ESnet’s test perfSONAR hosts, engineers can get details on the data transfer performance across 2,000 network paths with 2,000 different characteristics. “perfSONAR provides us with a really valuable test environment for new networking innovations like TCP BBR,” Tierney said.

Tierney said the old analogy of the Internet as an information highway really applies to the current version of TCP. As freeway traffic gets more congested, even the slightest event like a car with a flat tire can dramatically compound the situation as everyone slows down to rubberneck or go around.

With the current version of TCP, data traffic slows down when it hits congested stretches of a network and the problem gets worse the farther data travels. On some paths, BBR appears to help mitigate this slow-down.

ESnet is particularly interested in BBR as the network carries massive sets of data between 50 main sites in the U.S. and across four high-speed trans-Atlantic links.

“It looks like anyone who transfers big data over long distances could see huge improvements,” Tierney said. “The longer the path they are covering the bigger the difference will be.”

The announcement about BBR was posted on the Patchwork Linux network development website and can be found at https://patchwork.ozlabs.org/patch/671069/

Watch the ESnet blog for updates as BBR tests are conducted. Results will also be shared on ESnet’s Fasterdata website where the organization houses best practices and a broad knowledgebase focused on high performance network engineering, performance testing and tuning, among other topics.

2016 TechEx Conference Taps ESnet’s Expertise


From determining the future networking needs of researchers to speeding up the flow of scientific data, ESnet staff will share their expertise at the 2016 Technology Exchange being held Sept. 25-28 in Miami. The 2016 edition of TechEx is presented by Internet2 and co-hosted by Florida International University, The University of Florida and Florida LambdaRail.

On Sunday, Sept. 25, Jason Zurawski and Kate Mace of ESnet’s Science Engagement Team led “Demystifying the Science Requirements Review Process for Networking,” a half-day tutorial on the ESnet network requirements review process in the context of the Research and Education (R&E) networking community.

Brian Tierney, head of the Advanced Network Technologies Group, is one of three speakers presenting an overview of the newly released perfSONAR 4.0 network measurement software tool on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Andy Lake of the Advanced Network Technologies Group will present a “perfSONAR 4.0 Feature Tour,” highlighting many of the important new additions and enhancements found in perfSONAR 4.0. It will cover topics such as improvements to MaDDash, updated test result charts, new central test configuration features, and information about OS upgrades.

Tierney will give another talk on Tuesday on “Improving Performance of 40G/100G Data Transfer Nodes,” which will cover host tuning for 40G/100G hosts, as well as new TCP enhancements that can greatly improve the stability of high-speed flows.

 

How the World’s Fastest Science Network Was Built

ESnetFireworks

Created in 1986, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-performance network built to support unclassified science research. ESnet connects more than 40 DOE research sites—including the entire National Laboratory system, supercomputing facilities and major scientific instruments—as well as hundreds of other science networks around the world and the Internet.

Funded by DOE’s Office of Science and managed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), ESnet moves about 51  petabytes of scientific data every month. This is a 13-step guide about how ESnet has evolved over 30 years.

Step 1: When fusion energy scientists inherit a cast-off supercomputer, add 4 dialup modems so the people at the Princeton lab can log in. (1975)

Online3

Step 2: When landlines prove too unreliable, upgrade to satellites! Data screams through space. (1981)

18ogxd

Step 3: Whose network is best? High Energy Physics (HEPnet)? Fusion Physics (MFEnet)?  Why argue? Merge them into one-Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)-run by the Department of Energy!  Go ESnet! (1986)

ESnetListicle

Step 4: Make it even faster with DUAL Satellite links! We’re talking 56 kilobits per second! Except for the Princeton fusion scientists – they get 112 Kbps! (1987)

Satellite

Step 5:  Whoa, when an upgrade to 1.5 MEGAbits per second isn’t enough, add ATM (not the money machine, but Asynchronous Transfer Mode) to get more bang for your buck. (1995)

18qlbh

Step 6: Duty now for the future—roll out the very first IPv6 address to ensure there will be enough Internet addresses for decades to come. (2000)

18s8om

Step 7: Crank up the fastest links in the network to 10 GIGAbits per second—16 times faster than the old gear—a two-generation leap in network upgrades at one time. (2003)

18qlnc

Step 8: Work with other networks to develop really cool tools, like the perfSONAR toolkit for measuring and improving end-to-end network performance and OSCARS (On-Demand Secure Circuit and Advance Reservation), so you can reserve a high-speed, end-to-end connection to make sure your data is delivered on time. (2006)

18qn9e

Step 9: Why just rent fiber? Pick up your own dark fiber network at a bargain price for future expansion. In the meantime, boost your bandwidth to 100G for everyone. (2012)

18on55

Step 10: Here’s a cool idea, come up with a new network design so that scientists moving REALLY BIG DATASETS can safely avoid institutional firewalls, call it the Science DMZ, and get research moving faster at universities around the country. (2012)

18onw4

18oo6c

Step 11: We’re all in this science thing together, so let’s build faster ties to Europe. ESnet adds three 100G lines (and a backup 40G link) to connect researchers in the U.S. and Europe. (2014)

18qnu6

Step 12: 100G is fast, but it’s time to get ready for 400G. To pave the way, ESnet installs a production 400G network between facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Calif., and even provides a 400G testbed so network engineers can get up to speed on the technology. (2015)

18oogv

Step 13: Celebrate 30 years as a research and education network leader, but keep looking forward to the next level. (2016)

ESnetFireworks

Aug. 21 Deadline to Submit Papers for SCinet’s INDIS Workshop at SC16


Sunday, Aug. 21, is the deadline for submitting papers for the 3rd International Workshop on Innovating the Network for Data Intensive Science (INDIS), which will be held Sunday, Nov. 13, in conjunction with SC16 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The workshop invites papers that propose new and novel techniques regarding capacity and functionality of networks, its control and its architecture to be demonstrated at current and future supercomputing conferences. We invite full original papers to be submitted via the FGCS submission system (for more detailed information visit the submit page.

INDIS also serves as a platform for participants in SCinet to present experimental papers on their latest designs and solutions. SCinet is the high-speed network engine of the SC conference.

For complete information, including links to papers from the 2015 INDIS workshop, go to: https://scinet.supercomputing.org/workshop/

For 10 Years, ESnet has Helped Develop, Deploy perfSONAR


perfSONARv2Since it was first deployed as a prototype in December 2005, the perfSONAR toolkit has provided the research and education networking community with tools for end-to-end monitoring and troubleshooting of multi-domain network performance. And over the years, this ability to diagnose network problems has become increasingly important as research is increasingly collaborative and dependent on sharing large data sets.

Currently a joint effort between ESnet, Internet2, Indiana University and GEANT, the pan-European research network, perfSONAR is now deployed at more than 1,700 public sites around the world, as well as at many private sites. About 40 percent of the public sites are at educational institutions. Among the major users is the Large Hadron Collider collaboration with users at hundreds of institutions.

“Although it started out with just one of two metrics of network performance, it’s now a menagerie of tools in one easy-to-install package with not a lot of steps required to install and configure,” said Jason Zurawski of ESnet’s Science Engagement Team. “At its core, perfSONAR is software to fix your network, whether it’s broken or improperly tuned. We find that many new users are tired of poor performance and want to fix it, or they are looking to upgrade their network and want to benchmark the current system to document improvement.”

Read the full story.

ESnet_30year_r3_Final(Editor’s note: This is the first of a series highlighting ESnet’s contributions to the global networking community as ESnet marks its 30th anniversary.)

 

ESnet, NSRC Team Up to Produce Videos for Boosting Network Performance


perfSONAR screen

The Department of Energy’s ESnet and the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) at the University of Oregon are teaming up to create an extensive video training library to help organizations improve the performance of their networks by deploying the perfSONAR network measurement tools and the Science DMZ network architecture.

One of the first institutions to benefit from the project will be the University of Guam. NSRC staff are flying to the U.S. territory in the Pacific on July 25 to help the university improve its campus network and set up a high-speed link to the University of Hawaii. Prior to the weeklong workshop and perfSONAR installation, NSRC staff will have the six campus network engineers familiarize themselves with the toolkit via the video library.

ESnet is one of the original developers of the perfSONAR toolkit, which has provided the research and education (R&E) networking community with tools for end-to-end monitoring and troubleshooting of multi-domain network performance. Other current partners in the perfSONAR project are Internet2, Indiana University and GÉANT, the pan-European research network. The perfSONAR collaboration over the past 11 years has also included Fermilab, SLAC, Georgia Tech, the University of Delaware, the ATLAS Great Lakes Tier 2 team at the University of Michigan and RNP in Brazil.

“We’ve developed a good working relationship with NSRC over the past several years, and we started talking about this video project in early 2015 as a way to efficiently transfer ESnet’s expertise to anyone interested in network performance, from DOE scientists to other research organizations,” said ESnet’s Eli Dart, who developed the Science DMZ architecture and will appear in a series of related training videos. “They do a lot of good work in all corners of the world, helping research organizations in emerging economies around the world get up to speed fast and help them bootstrap the development of science networks where it was not possible before.”

Read the full story.

Inder Monga Named Director of ESnet


Inder_Monga
Inder Monga is the new ESnet director.

Indermohan “Inder” Singh Monga, an internationally recognized expert in advanced networking research, is the new executive director of the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network, better known as ESnet. He will also assume the role of director of the Scientific Networking Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which manages ESnet.

Monga, who joined ESnet in September 2009, is only the fifth person to lead ESnet since it was created 30 years ago. When Greg Bell announced he was stepping down as ESnet director in February 2016, Monga was named interim director. Since joining the organization, Monga has served as a software engineer, chief technology officer, group lead of the Tools Team and deputy of technology for the Scientific Networking Division. He provides research and technology direction, actively leads research projects and championed building a focused software engineering effort within ESnet. He is also a frequent invited/keynote speaker at industry and research and education (R&E) networking conferences.

“ESnet was very fortunate to have Inder join the organization in 2009 and I’m very pleased that he will now lead ESnet into the next generation of scientific networking,” said Kathy Yelick, Associate Lab Director for Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab, in announcing Monga’s appointment. “As science has become increasingly science-driven, networking plays a critical role in giving researchers access to critical data, as well as supporting global collaborations.”

Read more at: http://es.net/news-and-publications/esnet-news/2016/inder-monga-named-director-of-esnet-berkeley-lab-s-scientific-networking-division/

Interactive Timeline Showcases ESnet’s 30 Years of Networking Leadership


ESnet_30year_r3_FinalIn observance of its 30 years of supporting Department of Energy sciences, ESnet is kicking off six months of activities highlighting the network’s accomplishments and contributions to the global networking community, starting with an interactive timeline highlighting ESnet’s networking innovations and milestones, and including extensive documentation of the network as it evolved.

In 1986, DOE merged the Magnetic Fusion Energy Network (MFEnet) with the High Energy Physics Network (HEPnet) to create the Energy Sciences Network, better known as ESnet.  But ESnet’s roots reach back to the mid-1970s when four dial-up modems connected the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab to the National Magnetic Fusion Energy Computer Center, which is today known as NERSC, DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.

In the coming months, watch for more posts marking ESnet’s 30th.

View the timeline.

ESnet’s John Christman Retiring after 29+ Years at LBNL


JC_Univac
John Christman with his Navy-issue UNIVAC computer.

When John Christman enlisted in the U.S. Navy the day after his 18th birthday, he was hoping to work as either a welder or machinist. But he scored too high on the skills assessment and instead ended up studying advanced electronics. It was one of those twists of fate that set his whole career in motion. On June 29, Christman will leave the lab after 29+ years, the last 10 as a network engineer with ESnet.

He started out with two years of electronics school in the Navy, going to class eight hours a day and learning about vacuum tubes, transistors and programming. And while the technology changed, the nature of Christman’s work  has remained constant – understanding and maintaining systems to ensure that users were able to reliably get the information they needed.

“Every year you learn something new – that’s what I love about the lab,” he said. “You’re always at the cutting edge, nothing gets stale.”

Read the full story, including John’s prize winning Whiskey-Peppercorn Steak recipe.

JC_Edison2
In his last week with ESnet, John Christman posed with NERSC’s Edison supercomputer.