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Research and Education Community Collaborates to Deploy Dynamic Circuit Network Capabilities

Posted on Apr 23, 2008 by Doug Howell
Tags: Dynamic Circuit Network, imported, Internet2 Network, Network Architecture, Network Performance, Performance Tools

Arlington, VA - April 23, 2008 - Since the completion of the new Internet2 Network infrastructure last fall, many organizations in the research and education community, including Internet2, several regional network Connectors, universities, national laboratories, as well as international and corporate partners have collaborated to deploy developmental dynamic circuit networking (DCN) capabilities to support a variety of large-scale research projects that require high-performance networking.

Dynamic Circuit Networking-enabled backbone networks, such as Internet2, the Department of Energy’s ESnet, and the pan-European GÉANT2 AutoBAHN network, as well as several regional U.S. networks allow users to set up short-term dedicated network paths on demand for high-performance data transfers. In contrast with shared IP-based networks such as the commercial Internet, DCNs offer unprecedented control over dedicated network resources and enable demanding applications to maximize their utilization of the network.

Several researchers are now poised to become the very first users of these new dynamic circuit networks, which will fundamentally change the way science medicine, the arts and humanities, distance learning and beyond is conducted.

"We are pleased to be working together with many regional network partners and university members to successfully implement several connections to the Internet2 DCN. As these early adopters are able to increasingly experience the enhanced performance and reliability this technology can deliver, we believe DCN will rapidly progress beyond its developmental stage and see significant growth in the number of users who can reach and benefit from the service," said Rick Summerhill, Internet2 chief technology officer.

Currently there are seven DCN-enabled regional networks in the United States and the number continues to grow. Among the DCN connectors is the Merit Network in Michigan, which is currently working with the University of Michigan (U-M) to provision a connection to the Internet2 DCN. Merit sees this type of architecture as a significant next step in the evolution of networks that will benefit their researchers, such as the high-energy physicists involved in the Large Hadron Collider ATLAS experiment. These researchers need to transmit and analyze several terabytes of information every few weeks, but only have very short windows of time in which to do so which makes it an ideal application for DCN technology.

"Adding dynamic capabilities to the network allows a wider range of specialized applications to be handled within the production network. This can reduce the overhead for network service providers like Merit while at the same time vastly improving performance and service for the end user," said Robert Duncan, backbone engineering manager at Merit Network.

Shawn McKee, a high-energy astrophysicist, research scientist and US ATLAS Great Lakes Tier-2 center director at U-M is participating in the ATLAS project at the LHC. Starting later in 2008, the ATLAS detector will search for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. ATLAS will learn about the basic forces that have shaped the universe since the beginning of time and that will determine its fate including mass, extra dimensions of space, microscopic black holes, and evidence for dark matter candidates in the universe.

"DCN will significantly boost the productivity and efficiency of our LHC work. By properly balancing user requirements, DCN helps us avoid the possibility that computers sit idle because of unexpected network congestion that can slow transfers. The overall distributed system becomes both more effective and efficient which means more users can get their work done and resources are more highly utilized,” said McKee.

Similarly to Merit, NYSERNet, which provides advanced networking for the research and education community in New York, sees significant potential in the use of dynamic networking and has begun to deploy the capabilities with hopes of - in the short term - supporting researchers involved in big science projects like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO).

With funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation and designed and operated by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, LIGO was created for the purpose of detecting cosmic gravitational waves and for the development of gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool. Research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, a group of close to six hundred scientists at universities around the U.S. and in 11 foreign countries.

A Syracuse University researcher is among the scientists involved in this global effort. According to Bill Owens, director of advanced technology and networking for NYSERNet, the LIGO collaboration is nearly tailor-made for DCN since many of its researchers require only occasional access to several terabytes of data from other remotely-located LIGO participants.

Owens is extending DCN capabilities through the NYSERNet regional network to support the LIGO research, and in the longer term believes other application communities will adopt these resources to improve their application performance and enhance utilization of the network. Today two NYSERNet member campuses are connected to the Internet2 DCN while three others are in the process of installing a connection.

“At all levels - campus, regional and connections to national backbone - we are challenged by the presence of individual applications that have very high peak utilization, but only occasional needs,” said Owens. “It’s not cost effective for us to overbuild the network to support all of them, and then have the bandwidth go unused most of the time. Dynamic circuit networking offers us a platform to support those needs.”

As additional regional networks become DCN-enabled, more users and applications will be able to benefit from its performance and capabilities. For instance, members may look to explore how projects involving high-definition video applications might benefit from dedicated circuits. The arts and humanities and tele-health communities have also begun thinking how DCN might augment or improve their current network-based programs.

The Internet2 Dynamic Circuit Network is currently deployed as a persistent developmental service. To support the development, deployment, and use of the DCN capabilities, Internet2 has initiated a no-fee trial of the Internet2 DCN for 2008.

The annual Internet2 Spring Member Meeting is being held this week in Arlington, VA. Sessions on DCN technology included: http://www.internet2.edu/dcresearch/SMM08/index.html

For more information, visit: http://www.internet2.edu/network/dc/