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Springtime and Bow Ties: Participating In, Learning From Regional Member Meetings

May 29, 2019, by George Loftus
Tags: Advanced Network Services, Advanced Networking, Cloud Connect Initiative, Recent Posts, Regional Networks, Research & Education Networks

Spring has arrived and with it comes the season of member meetings for several of our regional network members. So I packed a few of my favorite bow ties and went on the road to share the story of our goals and progress for the Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) project, and to spread the word that the Internet2 Cloud Connect Service is in production and available to all members of Internet2 and regional networks at no additional fee. You can find out more about the Internet2 Cloud Connect service here.

I had the pleasure of visiting with colleagues from KINBER in Pennsylvania, MAX in Maryland, WiscNet in Wisconsin, I-Light/Indiana GigaPOP, Merit in Michigan, and CEN in Connecticut. I always enjoy attending the regional member meetings. It provides me with an opportunity to hear of the great projects and services the regionals are providing to address the needs of their unique community. It is also a chance to see what a key role the community plays in the success of regional efforts.

Several of the meetings included great keynote speakers, and this year was no exception with wide-ranging topics like inclusivity in the workforce, empowering staff in the workplace, how termites solve problems, how a program provides opportunity in music by increasing diversity, and the ethical issues surrounding robots and automation. I find that these keynote speeches allow the attendees to have a shared experience, that often opens up the mind to new topics and issues, which sets the tone for the sharing of ideas throughout the rest of the meeting.

When I presented on the NGI program, I defined it as a full set of activities to review and update the services, value and supporting technology of the Internet2 infrastructure portfolio (and relationships in the larger ecosystem). I provided examples of how we plan to address the requirements we have heard from the community over the past few years. I explored five case studies with the audience that exemplify the needs we are attempting to address with this new version of the network:

  • Support the data intensive researcher
  • Support software driven infrastructure
  • Support cloud for research and administration
  • Deliver ecosystem-wide solutions
  • Reset Internet2 economics for scale

You can view a slide deck covering each of these case studies here.

I also had the opportunity to talk with the attendees about the Cloud Connect Service which allows any regional network member connected to Internet2 to utilize their regional and Internet2 networks to gain access to AWS Direct Connect, Google Dedicated Interconnect, and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute. The Cloud Connect offering includes Layer 2 and Layer 3 access to these cloud providers.

I also used the opportunity to talk about the Cloud Connect Portal which allows for easy, dynamic Layer 3 configuration of cloud connections. Here is a video of the Cloud Connect Portal. The Cloud Connect service is in addition to the 800+ Gbps of public peering being offered through the Internet2 Peer Exchange (I2PX); formerly called TR-CPS.

It was exciting to see so much energy and enthusiasm at these regional network member gatherings. We at Internet2 are honored to be a part of these events, and with so much happening around the NGI project and Cloud Connect efforts, we truly appreciated being invited to engage with the regional membership. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in and learn from these important events.

I still have some bow ties that I have not put into service yet, so if you would like us to present to your regional or campus organization, we would be happy to arrange a visit or a webinar for your organization.

George Loftus