100 Gbps ANI Prototype Network is Just the Beginning

After much work and planning, we proudly introduce you to our new scientific network-to-be.  Berkeley Lab just announced the signing of an agreement to begin construction of a 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) prototype network, part of the Lab’s Advanced Networking Initiative funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Under the terms of the deal, Internet2 and its industry partners will construct the network under ESnet’s direction.

Coming Soon: ANI 100 Gpbs Prototype Network, First Step Towards Nationwide 100 Gbps Network

While our ANI network testbed is already open for business (mark your calendar –the next call for research proposals is October 1st) in a matter of months researchers can conduct experiments on the 100 Gbps prototype network. This network will link the three supercomputing facilities at national laboratories – the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) to MANLAN – the Manhattan Landing international exchange point.

But more is yet to come; the ANI prototype network will also be framework for ESnet to obtain concrete network energy use data for research into “green networking” – a priority here at ESnet.  Also part of the agreement, Berkeley Lab negotiated access to a nation-wide pair of dark fiber for 20 years which will be immediately available to network researchers and industry to experiment with new protocols and disruptive technologies.  Stay tuned to our blog to follow construction of the network and the exciting happenings at ESnet.

The 100 Gbps prototype network is just the beginning.  Berkeley Lab and ESnet will leverage the experience gained deploying the prototype network to extend these capabilities to the national labs and facilities ESnet currently serves, and connect DOE scientists to university collaborators around the world.  When moved to production status, the new network will increase the information carrying capacity of ESnet’s current 10 Gbps network by several orders of magnitude.  One terabyte of data, which takes approximately 13 minutes to transfer on ESnet’s present 10 Gbps network, will be delivered in under a minute on the 100 Gbps network.

What we hope you will get out of this

While our network currently meets the capacity needs of its users, we see new challenges on the horizon.  On behalf of the DOE Office of Science, we regularly survey scientists about their projected needs in order to better target services for our users. Demand on ESnet’s network has grown by a factor of 10 every 47 months since 1990.  Over the last year, we have seen a rise in ESnet network traffic by 70 percent – most of that data traffic coming from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN but with genomics and climate data also picking up steam.

Just as investments in national infrastructure built the Interstate Highway System that sped the delivery of goods and opened up commerce in the United States, high-speed networks will speed the scientific discovery that will drive this nation’s economy in the future.  New, large-scale instruments are in the offing, and we anticipate a growing tide of data in various disciplines as scientists work to understand our climate, develop clean fuels, and investigate the basic nature of matter.  High-speed networks like this one will have a huge impact on an increasing number of disciplines, as more scientists collaborate in global teams and depend on remote supercomputers to model and solve complex problems.

How to be really thrifty with $62 million.

This is a challenging time when budgets are under severe pressure, both for government and the research and education community.  We believe that by pooling resources and expertise we can help curb the costs of scientific research.  By working closely with Internet2 to build this prototype network, we are leveraging our ARRA award and their funding for synergistic effect and getting more return on investment for the taxpayer.

We strongly believe this new 100Gbps network infrastructure will allow us to better support data-intensive science by providing more capacity at lower cost, lower energy consumption, and lower carbon emissions per bit.  And that makes us feel good about what we do.