The Department of Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), Indiana University, Internet2 and GÉANT today announced the release of a new version of the open-source tool perfSONAR, which stands for Performance Service Oriented Network Monitoring Architecture.
perfSONAR is a jointly developed and widely deployed test and measurement infrastructure that is used by science networks and facilities around the world to measure and ensure network performance. As research and education institutions are increasingly reliant on networking, open-source tools like perfSONAR allow network engineers to test and measure network performance, with the ability to archive data in order to pinpoint and solve service problems that may span multiple networks and international boundaries
“As research is becoming increasingly data-intensive, the ability to pinpoint and eliminate network bottlenecks is critical in order to make the most effective use of networks,” said Inder Monga, ESnet director. “This new release leverages an open-source, time-series graphing package developed by ESnet that allows for easy exploration of measurement data.”
The updates in version 4.0 include:
new scheduling software called pScheduler that supports community-developed test tools
results archiving and analysis
new interactive time-series graphs for improved human analysis
Scientists around the world are increasingly collaborating to address global issues such as clean energy, medicine and protecting the environment. Their ability to share and analyse data is essential for advancing research, and as the size of those datasets grows, the need for high-speed global network connectivity becomes ever more critical.
Collaborating Across the Atlantic
That is why research and education (R&E) networks in Europe and North America have joined forces to find new ways to help facilitate and enable scientific collaboration. Between them, the R&E networks on the two continents have now deployed links providing a total bandwidth of 740 gigabits per second (Gbps).
This record-breaking connectivity and resilience is the work of the Advanced North Atlantic (ANA) Collaboration. Started in 2013, ANA consists of six leading R&E networks: CANARIE (Canada), ESnet (USA), GÉANT (Europe), Internet2 (USA), NORDUnet (European Nordics), and SURFnet (The Netherlands).
“We’ve seen a tremendous growth in transatlantic connectivity since we have set up the first 100 Gbps R&E transatlantic link at TNC 2013,” said Erwin Bleumink, CEO of SURFnet. ”I am very pleased with the success of this international collaboration, in which SURFnet has been involved from the beginning.”
“Collaborations between research and education networks are unique and enable us as a community to address the exponentially growing data needs of science collaborations worldwide,” said Inder Monga, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s ESnet, which deployed four trans-Atlantic links comprising 340 Gbps in December 2014. “The combined capability offered to the research and education community far exceeds what any single organization can provide and moves us many steps forward towards accomplishing our vision of ‘scientific progress being completely unconstrained’.”
The University of Oregon’s Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) has produced a video showing how it has partnered with the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) to improve the network infrastructure for the center at Makerere University in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The center focuses on providing resources and training on prevention and treatment of diseases, including HIV/AIDS, producing up to 10,000 reports a month.
The previous network couldn’t support that kind of growth and the NSRC worked with the center to upgrade the infrastructure, sending donated switches, routers and wireless networking hardware.
“You realize that a network that was performing so badly, with the replacement equipment and a few tweaks here and there, the network is now performing so well,” IDI network engineer Brian Masiga says in the video. “They (the local staff) actually like the idea that someone is out there looking at their problems and they’re able to work together to solve that problem, not working as an individual, but working as a group.”
Partially funded by the National Science Foundation, Google and other organizations, the NSRC works directly with the indigenous network engineers and operators who develop and maintain the Internet infrastructure in their respective countries and regions by providing technical information, engineering assistance, training, donations of networking books, equipment and other resources. The end goal in this work is to make it easier for local scientists, engineers and educators to collaborate via the Internet with their international colleagues by helping to connect communities.
In a real-time demonstration, seven vendors of network equipment came together to successfully test the interoperability of FAUCET, an open-source SDN (software-defined networking) controller. The March 30 event was sponsored by Google, LBLnet (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s internal network) and ESnet, the U.S. Department of Energy’s high-speed international network managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The demonstration was organized to sustain momentum for SDN — an emerging technology that decouples the network control plane from the actual data which flows across the network on the data plane. By doing so, SDN introduces the concept of programmability into the network, allowing application owners and network operators to customize network software to meet their needs.
FAUCET, originally developed at REANNZ and the University of Waikato in New Zealand with the support of Google and others, was created to bring the benefits of SDN to a typical enterprise network and has been deployed in various settings.