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Internet2 Announces First Full-Production Virtual Internet Network Architecture

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 by Glenn Lipscomb
Tags: Advanced Network Services, Advanced Networking, Frontpage News

First virtualized network capability enables new multi-tenancy network paradigm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—October 28, 2014—The Internet2 community announced a fundamental advance in network architecture today, demonstrating the first nationwide, multi-tenant SDN-powered virtualized network capability. A fundamental networking advancement, virtualization allows a user to subdivide a network to operate as multiple discrete, private networks. Virtualized networks allow multiple applications to access the scale and innovations of the physical Internet2 Network in isolated “slices,” removing prohibitive barriers of building and operating individual physical network infrastructures.

This advanced capability is enabled by the architecture innovations native to the Internet2 Network—the first 100G open, nationwide, software-defined network (SDN)—combining network hardware and software resources into a single, software-controlled network. A unique new piece of software, called “FlowSpace Firewall” has been installed in the Internet2 production network allowing slices of OpenFlow capabilities to be partitioned across nearly forty 100G-attached access nodes throughout the country. In essence, this new software protects each network slice from overconsumption of resources by other slices. This first-in-class capability is now available to support the important work of the research and education (R&E) community’s data-intensive science and academic operations.

Details of this new networking capability are in focus at the 2014 Technology Exchange held this week in Indianapolis, IN—gathering over 500 technology experts to collaborate on leading-edge paradigms for networking, cybersecurity, cloud, federated identity, and high-performance computing. During the conference, leaders of several major research collaborations announced their intentions to build large-scale production cloud computing, next-generation IP and peering fabrics in virtual slices of the Internet2 Network.

Two $10 million projects were recently awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will utilize the new capability—Chameleon and CloudLab. These projects will enable the academic and research communities to experiment and advance cloud computing architectures that can support a new generation of innovative applications—including real-time and safety-critical applications like those used in medical devices, power grids, and transportation systems.

“By connecting CloudLab to Internet2's nationwide SDN network, we can give researchers a level of end-to-end network programmability that is unprecedented in a cloud platform, said Robert Ricci, a research assistant professor of computer science at the University of Utah and principal investigator of CloudLab. Having this level of control, programmability, and visibility into the network will enable the research community to push the boundaries of cloud networking and explore the future of network architectures for the cloud.

Internet2 expects many more examples to follow as the R&E community capitalizes on the new groundbreaking accessibility for provisioning and operating networks, allowing local network operators to extend their reach across a global architecture and enabling entirely new test-bed capabilities through these secure and discrete virtualized networks. These new capabilities provide substantial support for the development of new applications to catalyze research collaboration, accelerate discovery, and create new scientific and technological innovations.

“Our community has delivered on Internet2’s official name again with this game-changing capability,” said Rob Vietzke, vice president of Network Services, Internet2. “The University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID dba Internet2) was founded to be the mechanism for the R&E community to develop and deliver next-generation technologies after their work led to the development of the Internet we know today. This is an important milestone in the R&E community’s rich heritage of pioneering transformational technologies to support education and research, and is very likely to be another pathfinder in Internet evolution that has much broader long-term impacts on how the Internet affects our future.”

About Internet2
Internet2® is a member-owned advanced technology community founded by the nation's leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve common technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research, and community service missions.

Internet2 also operates the nation’s largest and fastest, coast-to-coast research and education network, in which the Network Operations Center is powered by Indiana University. Internet2 serves more than 93,000 community anchor institutions, 260 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 38 regional and state education networks, 80 leading corporations working with our community and more than 65 national research and education networking partners representing more than 100 countries.

Internet2 offices are located in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; Emeryville, Calif.; Washington, D.C; and West Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit or follow @Internet2 on Twitter.

Media contact:
Glenn Lipscomb, Internet2, 720-379-9677.