Gopal Vaswani joins ESnet


Gopal Vaswani, no longer incognito

Gopal Vaswani has joined ESnet’s Network Engineering Group as a computer systems engineer, where he will help conceptualize and develop tools and services for the network’s infrastructure. Vaswani recently earned a master’s degree in Information Management and Systems from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, Vaswani worked at two Internet startup companies before coming to ESnet—Virtual Vehicle LLC, a company that he co-founded with a U.C. Berkeley classmate, and ifeelgoods Inc., an early phase social media startup. Vaswani is interested in how technology shapes our perceptions and society. He has a strong background in user interface design. His projects ranged from developing virtual test drive system that maps a simulated day in a plug-in vehicle onto a users actual day driving a gasoline-powered car, to a project using natural language processing tools and customized search to track the trajectory of migratory words so users can query an index of text documents and track the migration of language from multiple sources into legislative and policy discussions.

Prior to graduate school, Vaswani was a user experience researcher at Rediff.com and Honeywell Technology Labs in Bangalore, India. In these roles, he looked for ways to improve user experience while keeping in mind the business and technical constraints of the design. “A big theme in our undergraduate design education was how computing can satisfy needs of people,” says Vaswani.

Originally from India, Vaswani earned a bachelor’s degree in design at the Indian Institute of Technology. A self-proclaimed “movie buff,” Vaswani enjoys watching historical and cultural documentaries, as well as world cinemas, and one day hopes to create his own documentary.

Did you get the memo?


Last September, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra issued a memo mandating that government agencies take aggressive steps to adopt IPv6. IPv6 is the next-generation Internet Protocol, which allows for a vastly increased address space: 340 undecillion (340 followed by 36 zeroes) as compared to 4.3 billion addresses for the existing protocol, IPv4. The memo stipulates that agencies are to make all public-facing Internet resources IPv6-accessible by September 30, 2012, and that all internal connectivity within agencies and sites must use IPv6 by September 30, 2014.  Kundra’s aggressiveness appeared to be well-placed, when, on February 3, 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), allocated the very last chunks of IPv4 address space to the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). This officially signaled the beginning of the end of IPv4.

Time is running out on IPv4's billions of Internet addresses

It’s not about our addresses.  While many organizations, government agencies, universities, and companies feel that they have sufficient IPv4 address space so that they don’t need to implement IPv6, that’s not really the problem. The depletion of IPv4 addresses signals the advent of IPv6-only organizations and networks. New scientific research facilities, community organizations, and educational institutions around the world will soon find it much harder–and more expensive–to obtain IPv4 addresses. For these organizations, their only hope for having a presence on the Internet will be to make extensive–and possibly exclusive–use of IPv6.

Thus, even those who have abundant IPv4 resources may soon need to access IPv6-only resources.  Network staff need to be ready to act when IPv6-only users and collaborators elsewhere in the world need to access resources at their sites, or when their researchers request access to IPv6-only remote facilities.  This means that everyone needs to proceed in earnest with IPv6 adoption, so that the inevitable kinks can be worked out before IPv6 becomes a mission-critical requirement.

Many people wonder if Network Address Translation (NAT), which allows certain IPv4 addresses to be re-used throughout the Internet, can help stave off the need for IPv6. While this was a common argument in the 1990s and early 2000s, the acceleration of IPv4 depletion in the latter part of the last decade calls this assertion into question.  NAT technologies have been known to work–with some difficulty–on a small scale, but the kinds of large-scale NAT installations required to continue with an IPv4-only Internet are expensive and come with their own reliability and security issues.  Some, such as Lorenzo Colitti of Google, believe that large-scale NAT will make the Internet, as a whole, “slower and flakier.”

Currently, IPv6 is our best way forward when it comes to maintaining the reliability of the Internet.  Having adopted IPv6 many years ago, ESnet is well-positioned to provide help to others making the transition. But it’s important to get moving now.  The depletion of IANA IPv4 resources and the Federal mandate should provide good motivation.

–Michael Sinatra

Michael Sinatra joins ESnet as network engineer


Just ask this guy about IPv6

Michael Sinatra has joined ESnet’s Network Engineering Group. His mission at ESnet will be to help Department of Energy Labs transition to IPv6, work on ESnet’s Domain Name Security (DNS) and its extensions (DNSSEC), as well as perform general network engineering duties.

For the past eleven years Sinatra has been working as principal network engineer at the University of California, Berkeley. While pursuing a master’s degree in political science, Sinatra became interested in statistical and formal (game theory) methods, which led him to gain a familiarity with the Unix-based systems that ran analytical software. He held a variety of technical jobs, joining the UCB central campus networking department in 1999 where he was appointed to the Security Working Group. He helped create the CalNet service at Berkeley and most recently worked to develop IPv6 and DNSSEC services there, which has attracted national attention to the university for its pioneering efforts in this area.

Sinatra has lectured on sustainable network development and is interested in issues involving workable solutions for green network development. He is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG), Internet2, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and other network engineering groups.

Sinatra grew up in Philadelphia’s Main Line, but moved to the Bay Area almost two decades ago. He still misses Philly soft pretzels with mustard as well as scrapple. But Sinatra asserts that with a bit of coaching, West Coasters can make a Italian sub.

We upgraded fasterdata-check it out!


ESnet’s performance knowledge base, fasterdata.es.net, had grown organically for almost 15 years, and was in serious need of an overhaul. Out-of-date information needed to be removed, and a general reorganization was needed. As ESnet is in the middle of converting its web site to a CMS (Content Management System) that can be easily referenced and searched, we decided to use this opportunity to upgrade fasterdata as the first experiment with the new CMS.

Check out http://fasterdata.es.net and see what you think. “Some of the content and formatting is still not finalized, but I think you’ll find this a huge improvement over the old site”, said Brian Tierney, the author of much of the site’s content. There are over 85 pages of information and advice. It was a big job to rework all of the old site content but we are glad to say that it is completed, and posted for everyone to access and use. We anticipate later upgrades, but the new CMS will allow us to update information quickly, and make the site far easier to locate pages of interest than in the past.

This site gets over 3000 hits/week from all over the world, and is used by folks in all industries and R&E to improve their network performance and troubleshoot problems. Try it out and let Brian know your opinion at bltierney@es.net.