Autumn means SC10

Jon Dugan blogs about ESnet at SC10

By autumn most folks are thinking about the holidays, but for me, fall is filled with thoughts of something different.  Since 1998, I’ve had the privilege of working with the SCinet committee of Supercomputing, a.k.a. the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis, if you are not into the whole brevity thing. SCinet is the team of people that builds the local area and wide area network for the Supercomputing conference.

This year’s conference, SC10 is in New Orleans, LA, from November 13 until November 19.  Planning for each year’s show starts a few years ahead of time. Not long after one year’s show ends, the serious planning for the next year’s SCinet begins. It’s a cycle that I’ve been through many times now, and it’s a bit like an old friend at this point.  Most of the time we enjoy each other’s company immensely but when things get stressful, we can really irritate each other.

SCinet is a pretty amazing network.  After a year of planning, there are three weeks of concentrated effort to set it up. It’s operational for about one week and it takes about two days to tear down.  This year we will have 270 Gbps of wide area network connectivity with dedicated circuits to ESnet, Internet2, NLR, and NOAA.  We will deliver over 200 network connections to the various booths on the show floor.

As amazing as the network is, the people who build it are even more amazing. They are drawn from universities, national laboratories, network equipment vendors and nationwide research and education networks.  It’s not just Americans; there are people from several different countries with strong showings from the Netherlands and Germany most years.  Many of these folks are leaders in their areas of expertise and all of them are bright, capable people.  Each of them has given up a fair bit of their own time to participate (while most have some sponsorship from their employers, it’s not unheard of for people to take vacation time to participate).

Why would people give up many evenings and weekends every fall to be a part of SCinet?  Because it’s an amazing opportunity to learn about the state of the art in computer networking and to expand your professional network as welll. I consider myself extremely fortunate to work with each of the people that make up SCinet.

So what is ESnet doing for with SCinet this year?  Glad you asked.  First off, we are bringing three 10G circuits to the show floor.  As of Friday, October 29th all three were up and operational.  One of these circuits will be used for general IP traffic, but the other two will be used to carry dynamic circuits managed by the OSCARS IDC software.

These circuits will provide substantial support for various demonstrations by exhibitors, connecting scientific and computational resources at labs and universities to the booths on the show floor.

Finally, ESnet has four people who are volunteering in various capacities within SCinet. Evangelos Chaniotakis and myself will be working with the routing team. The routing team provides IP, IPv6, IP multicast service, manages the wide area peerings, manages wide area layer 2 circuits, configures the interfaces that face the booths on the show floor and works closely with several other teams to provide a highly scalable and reliable network. John Christman is working with the fiber team, building the optical fiber infrastructure to support SCinet (all booth connections are delivered over optical fiber, which allows booths to be connected to the network using the highest-speed interfaces available.) Brian Tierney will be working with the SCinet measurement team collecting network telemetry, and using it to provide useful and meaningful visualizations of what’s happening inside SCinet as well as providing tools and hosts to allow making active network measurement such as Iperf, nuttcp, and OWAMP. The measurement data is also made accessible using the perfSONAR suite of tools. They’re also using the SNMP polling software I wrote for ESnet called ESxSNMP.

Important spots to visit:

If you are coming to SC10 this year, be sure to come by the SCinet NOC in booth 3351.  I’d be happy to meet anyone who’s read this; feel free to ask for me at the SCinet help desk at the same booth. LBNL (ESnet’s parent organization) is located in booth 2448.  Finally, I am hosting a Bird’s of a Feather (BOF) session on network measurement during the show, the details are here.

And check out the other ESnet demos: You can download a map of ESnet at SC10: SC 2010_floormapFL

LBNL Booth 2448, ESnet roundtable discussions

Inder Monga, Advanced Network Technologies Group, ESnet, will lead a roundtable discussion on: On-demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System (OSCARS), 1-2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 17

Many of the demos at SC10 are being carried by OSCARS virtual circuits developed by ESnet with DOE support. OSCARS enables networks to reserve and schedule virtual circuits that provide bandwidth and service guarantees to support large-scale science collaborations. In the first quarter of 2011, ESnet expects to unveil OSCARS 0.6, which will offer vastly expanded capabilities, such as a modular architecture allowing for easy plug and play of the various functional modules and a flexible path computation engine (PCE) workflow architecture. Adoption of OSCARS has been accelerating as 2010 has seen deployments at Internet2 and other domestic and international research and education networks.  Since last year, ESnet saw a 30% increase in the use of virtual circuits. OSCARS virtual circuits now carry over 50% of ESnet’s monthly production traffic.  Increased use of virtual circuits was a major factor enabling ESnet to easily handle a nearly 300% rise in traffic from June 2009 to May 2010.

Brian Tierney, Advanced Network Technologies Group, ESnet, will lead a roundtable discussion on: ARRA-funded Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI) Testbed, 2- 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17

The research and education community’s needs for managing and transferring data are exploding in scope and complexity. In 2009 the DOE Office of Science awarded ESnet $62 million in Recovery Act funds to create the Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI). This next-generation, 100 Gbps network will connect DOE’s largest unclassified supercomputers. ANI is also establishing a high performance, reconfigurable network testbed for researchers to experiment with advanced networking concepts and protocols. ESnet has now opened the testbed to researchers. A variety of experiments pushing the boundaries of current network technology are underway. Another round of proposals are in the offing. The testbed will be moving from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to ESnet’s dark fiber ring at Long Island (LIMAN: Long Island Metropolitan Area Network) in January 2011 and eventually the 100 Gbps national prototype network ESnet is building to accelerate deployment of 100 Gbps technologies and provide a platform for the DOE experimental facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Magellan resources at at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)  and Argonne National Laboratory.

–Jon Dugan