ESnet6 took a major step forward last week with the completed installation and acceptance of all 40 “greenfield” routers on the network backbone. These new routers will enable ESnet to operate at speeds up to 400 Gbps across our national fiber network, and provide the backbone infrastructure behind our next generation scientific data mobility capabilities.
The installation and acceptance process at each location across the continental US required careful coordination between subcontractors, colocation facility personnel, Lab site staff, and multiple teams across ESnet. Following local health regulations and access requirements, ESnet arranged physical access for the subcontractors at each location and all parties participated in a turn-up conference call as the routers were installed and brought online..
In addition to networking capabilities, the ESnet6 team implemented new software automation capabilities simplifying the installation and acceptance process. These capabilities included enhancements to the ESnet inventory system to support bulk planning data import, automatic bill of materials generation, automatic site survey generation, and automated generation of all backbone links within the network. In addition, the team introduced new workflow orchestration, automated provisioning, and inventory discovery capabilities to help with the installation process.
The acceptance of the ESnet6 greenfield routers is a major milestone for the ESnet6 Project and the team has already migrated a significant portion of customer traffic onto the new routers. Despite the extra challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has made steady progress and is on track to finish ahead of schedule.