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Internet2 CTO Steve Wolff Keynotes TERENA Networking Conference 2013

Jun 17, 2013, by Todd Sedmak
Tags: Amazon Web Services, Azure, Big Data, Cloud Services & Applications, Executive Insights, imported, Research & Education Networks

Internet2’s Chief Technology Officer Steve Wolff stated at the recent TERENA Networking Conference 2013 that the growing globalization of research and higher education requires that NRENs think of themselves not in isolation, but as elements of a global whole – a Global R&E Network.

Wolff supported this assertion with examples including the Big Data explosion and the growth in “team” science – especially among disciplines not traditionally associated with computational methods and large data sets. He observed that to meet this challenge, R&E networks are incorporating into their plans and strategies emerging developments such as SDN and cloud services, with aspects that originated in the R&E networking community, and now are being embraced by the commercial sector.

Because foreseeable advances in networking technology will not meet the growth in global data, many researchers will move their computation to the data using offerings such as Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure and cloud computing in general. Following this trend a logical step further, Wolff concluded that research involving massively distributed datasets implies a distributed computing model in which the global R&E network provides the inter-process communication paths.

In a separate contribution to the “Lightning Talks” session at the conference, Wolff observed that the Advanced Regional Networks in the United States are facing both challenges and opportunities from the growth of Big Data. He also summarized the most provocative top-level themes identified at a workshop in April 2013 that gathered a compact set of thought leaders from across and beyond the ARN community, as well as from discipline communities and industry.

Wolff’s PowerPoint and video presentations throughout the TERENA Networking Conference can be viewed at Also, visit to watch an interview of him further explaining his ideas.

The TERENA Networking Conference is the largest and most prestigious European research networking conference – more than 600 participants including decision-makers, networking specialists and managers from all major European networking and research organizations, universities, worldwide sister institutions and industry representatives attended.

To discuss Wolff’s ideas further, contact him at