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Operational Excellence for the Internet2 Network

Mar 02, 2015, by Robert Vietzke
Tags: Advanced Network Services, Executive Insights, Frontpage News, Network Architecture, Operations and Policy

At the start of 2015, Internet2 is busy with a new set of initiatives to take the operational excellence of the Internet2 Network Services portfolio to a whole new level. Most of this work is behind the scenes, but it is incredibly important as we prepare to enter the third decade of the Internet2 Network and adjust for its increasing role as a critical national and global infrastructure.

Although Internet2 members continue to provide helpful, unsolicited feedback that the Internet2 Network performs at a very high level, the research and education community’s environment is ever changing. Accordingly, proactively meeting the community’s needs and expectations for network services of the future and providing an environment that is ahead of the curve is a top priority for Internet2’s 2015 operational investments.

It’s clear that the role of the Internet itself has changed in our daily lives since the Internet2 Abilene Network first came online in 1998. As we think toward the 20th anniversary of Internet2, leading member institutions have invested in their own technology capabilities and many have undergone substantial transformations from the ad-hoc first-stage operations that typified the 1990s—to more regimented, process-based organizational systems and controls—providing more predictability and risk management capabilities. A body of supporting programs to develop and train professionals on best practices for operating information technology organizations has also matured.

Dave Swartz, CIO at American University, provided some community guidance to a process that Internet2 staff and our partners at Indiana University worked on throughout 2014 to measure Internet2 Network operations. Through this process, Internet2’s Network Services division identified and contracted with a consultant to review Internet2’s operations using the ISO 20000 IT Service Management benchmark. Internet2 has now completed an initial benchmarking and is planning for improvements that the findings suggested.

As part of this effort, Internet2 is pleased to welcome Bill Lytle, a veteran operations leader who has run operations at companies like Level3 and who once supported White House communications. Bill joins the Internet2 Network Services team as Associate Vice President for Operations and Management. Bill’s job will be to lead the implementation of operations and improvements identified in the ISO 20000 process. Together with the rest of the network services team, we are making implementation of the full set of benchmark and improvement processes part of a future that embraces continuous improvement.