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Internet2 Focused Technical Workshop Helps Network Engineers Improve Network Performance for Big Data

Posted on Jan 27, 2015 by Angela Stark
Tags: Focused Technical Workshops, Frontpage News, Network Performance, perfSONAR

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 27, 2015—“We are here to enable science. Big science, with big data, is affected by network failures.”

And with that, Brian Tierney, group leader of the ESnet Advanced Network Technologies Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, kicked off a two-day workshop on perfSONAR, a tool for monitoring and measuring network performance from its starting point to its end point.

The Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) hosted the Internet2 Focused Technical Workshop, formally titled, “perfSONAR Deployment Best Practices, Architecture, and Moving the Needle,” Jan. 21-22, at its Columbus, Ohio, facility. The network engineers and developers who registered for the at-capacity event hailed from Brazil and across the United States; they represented higher education, regional optical networks and businesses that work extensively with researchers.

Many campuses and regional networks deploy sophisticated monitoring systems to ensure good network performance within their respective areas. However, scientists and researchers often collaborate with others across the country, or even across the world.

“Our networks are part of a very large global ecosystem of research and education systems worldwide,” Tierney said. “Because of so many components, it can be quite difficult to identify the source of a problem when one occurs. If you look at each network individually, it may look fine. Only when you look at the complete path can you see a performance issue.”

perfSONAR, which stands for “Performance focused Service Oriented Network monitoring Architecture,” enables these network engineers to build this needed, complete picture of a network from start to finish, or end-to-end, in network parlance, and monitor performance issues across these multiple domains.

The workshop, funded in part through a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure - Infrastructure, Innovation and Engineering Program (CC-IIE), focused on a number of operational aspects of deploying and using perfSONAR. The first day included a tutorial on how to install, configure, and use perfSONAR and the perfSONAR dashboard. The second day included presentations from those currently running large perfSONAR test meshes, with a focus on best practices and future growth.

“By providing community education and outreach, collectively we are all better prepared to serve the cyberinfrastructure needs of big data research,” said Paul Schopis, chief technology officer, OARnet, and principal investigator on the project. (The grant is titled CC*IIE Region: Transforming a Regional Network and the Regional Community to Serve Diverse and Emerging Research Needs, NSF: 1440450.)

“Our goal is to provide opportunities for knowledge exchange and best practices,” Schopis said. “Successful cyberinfrastructure networks depend on a well-trained, collaborative ‘human network,’ combined with widely deployed and easily accessible monitoring and measurement infrastructure, such as perfSONAR. It’s an honor to be providing these forums for our peers to engage with each other and learn.”

“Internet2 is dedicated to providing the research and education community with meaningful opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other,” said Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services for Internet2. “This Focused Technical Workshop, hosted jointly by Internet2 and outstanding long-time community leaders at OARnet and ESnet is an example of a community event that offers attendees an experience that is only possible when experts get together in a concentrated setting and share experiences unique to their own community.”

About OARnet
A member of the Ohio Board of Regents Ohio Technology Consortium, the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) provides technology solutions for Ohio's education, public broadcasting, health care and government communities. Since 1987, OARnet has identified and deployed shared services that reduce costs, deliver quality programs, increase productivity and improve customer service. Communities voluntarily participate in the OARnet consortium because they value these benefits and services. Ultimately, OARnet promotes community and economic development by expanding access to affordable technology.

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, 65 government agencies, 40 regional and state education networks, 85 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 www.internet2.edu or follow @Internet2 on Twitter.

Media Contacts:
Susan Mantey, OH-TECH, 614-292-9457 or susan@oh-tech.org
Angela Stark, Internet2, 202.803.8996 or astark@internet2.edu