ESnet team to give multiple talks about networking, automation, and QUANT-NET at NORDUnet Conference and GEANT’s SIG-NGN meeting

The 31st NORDUnet Conference will take place in Reykjavik, Iceland from September 13-15, 2022. 

ESnet staff will also be in attendance at the Special Interest Group on Next Generation Networking (SIG-NGN) on September 12, 2022, the day before the NORDUnet Conference.

Here’s where you can find ESnet team’s talks during these events: 

Monday, September 12, 2022: SIG-NGN

The next generation NREN lightning talks 
09:05 – 10:30am GMT

The lightning talks will feature two presentations from ESnet: 

  • ESnet Effort to Build Upon the NML and MRML – John MacAuley
  • LHC Next Generation Requirements Gathering – Eli Dart

Future network architectures. Technological change to support data moving / data planes 
11:00am – 12:30pm GMT

This session will start with 10-minute presentations, including two by ESnet staff:

  • ESnet7 – Chin Guok
  • Underlay Packet Inspection, Making Traffic Engineering Decisions at L2 – Yatish Kumar

These talks will be followed by a panel discussion. 



How do we stitch and share our L1-L3+ networks to introduce better and new services
12:00pm – 3:30pm GMT

This session includes a series of short talks, including:

  • Real Time Data Processing Requirements – Yatish Kumar

Yatish Kumar will also host a discussion on future networking technologies from =2:00pm – 3:20pm GMT


Tuesday, September 13, 2022: NORDUnet Conference

The ESnet6 Approach to Network Orchestration and Automation
11:00am – 12:30pm GMT | Track 1 / Room: Silfurberg B

Speaker: Scott Richmond

Abstract: Network Orchestration is a defining factor in next generation networks, enabling operators to deliver more consistent and reliable services. ESnet has leveraged a combination of internally developed tools, open source software, and commercial software to orchestrate and automate network configuration deployment. This approach has enabled rapid deployment of new network services, as well as ensuring that configuration standards are well enforced when deploying network services.

During this talk, we will provide a brief history of automation at ESnet, dive into what our goals were for orchestration and automation in the ESnet6 project, and describe the technology and process that we used to meet those goals. Finally, we will discuss the hurdles encountered and lessons we learned along the way while developing this tooling.

Eli Dart was part of the technical program committee and is the chair for the HPC session, taking place in Track 2 / Room: Rima from 2:00 – 3:30 pm GMT. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2022: NORDUnet Conference

Experimenting with Teleportation Based Physical Layer for the Network: QUANT-NET
1:30pm – 3:00pm GMT | Track 1 / Room: Silfurberg B

Speaker: Inder Monga

Abstract: QUANT-NET takes an application-centric and systems-based approach to building a Quantum Internet testbed. The main thrust of this effort is to build a three-node distributed quantum computing testbed between two sites, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the University of California Berkeley (UCB) connected with an entanglement swapping substrate over optical fiber and managed by a quantum network protocol stack. We will implement the most basic building block of distributed quantum computing by teleporting a controlled-NOT gate between two nodes. This approach will enable research, prototyping, measurement and testing of the entire quantum network stack from physical layer to the application. The talk will describe our proposed testbed and progress.


Chris Cummings Speaks About Service Orchestration at Networking Field Day

ESnet’s Chris Cummings from our Orchestration and Core Data team was asked to present at the industry event “Networking Field Day: Service Provider”. 

Networking Field Day (NFD) is a unique event in which industry professionals are invited to join a panel of delegates who are presented with new products and offerings from networking vendors. These presentations then follow an open format where delegates can ask questions of the vendors and understand more about the products being discussed. 

For this particular instance of NFD, Chris was invited as a community member to present on how ESnet has built service orchestration and intent-based networking tooling, which allows us to abstract our service offerings from the technical implementation details that compose them. This is a topic that has a lot of mystique and buzz-words surrounding it in the networking industry, but this presentation contains concrete examples and demonstrations of the software that ESnet uses daily. 

The talk Chris gave explored ESnet’s approach to building a service orchestration software suite. He also gave a few demonstrations of the software in action. This presentation is not an exhaustive explanation of how to build your own intent-based networking environment, but rather an example and overview of a real-world stack that is being used in a production network today and the principles behind it. 

Watch Chris’s presentation here: https://techfieldday.com/appearance/a-real-world-approach-to-intent-based-networking-and-service-orchestration/

3Q with Juan Antunez, ESnet’s new Network Operations Engineer!

Before joining ESnet as a network operations engineer, Juan Antunez was an infrastructure engineer at Lowe’s. He brings seven years of experience in IT help desk support (customer support) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston-Downtown. Outside of work, he enjoys playing soccer with his seven-year-old daughter and traveling. 

Juan Antunez smiling into the camera
Juan Antunez

Question 1: What brought you to ESnet? 

After working for many years in the aerospace and retail industries, I’ve decided to join ESnet, which has a significant footprint supporting scientific research and development. The opportunity to contribute to the Department of Energy’s large-scale scientific research is exciting and fulfilling. I’m thrilled about joining, and I’m looking forward to continuing my career development!

Question 2: What is the most exciting thing going on in your field right now? 

I would say that Automation is something that many organizations are integrating into their network to avoid daily repetitive tasks that take time away from the workforce. It also helps prevent zero-day attacks with automation and response.

Question 3: What book, movie, or podcast would you recommend? 

I highly recommend The Art of Networking Engineering podcast to anyone interested in listening to other network engineers speak of their real-life experiences in the industry.  Also, Darknet Diaries is another fascinating podcast; you get to listen to and learn about what’s happening in the cybersecurity world. 

Watch our latest video: Serving Conversations That Matter

Title card from the Serving Conversations That Matter video

ESnet exists to support research into some of the most important questions of our time. The traffic that travels over our network on a daily basis contains data from tens of thousands of researchers – data that could lead to the next major discovery or scientific breakthrough.

In our latest video, learn about just a few of the revolutionary research collaborations we support, and the questions they’re working to answer.

The my.es.net portal has been updated!

Last week, we updated the my.es.net portal to better communicate the quantities of data that traverse the network on a daily basis!

The portal now shows larger dynamic traffic ranges between 0 and 800+ Gbps on the map – the previous portal’s visualizations maxed out at 80 Gbps.

The new color scheme is also color blind-friendly and works in grayscale!

Check it out for yourself here

We want YOU  for #ESnet6Week!

Registration is now open for the unveiling of the ESnet6 network, Confab22 and other events planned for #ESnet6Week! Come join us either in person in Berkeley, CA or virtually.  

#ESnet6Week Schedule (October 11-14, 2022):

  • October 11: ESnet6 Unveiling – the Next-Generation Network (Free to attend virtually. In-person attendance is invite only)
  • October 12-13 : Confab22 – the Annual User Meeting ($300 to attend in-person, $150 to attend virtually – save $50 if you register before 30 June!)
  • October 14 : ESnet Site Coordinator Committee Meeting (open to ESCC invitees only)

To register or for more information, please see: https://go.lbl.gov/confab22!

ESnet is heading to Italy to share networking expertise with international colleagues at TNC22

ESnet will be in Trieste, Italy from June 13-17, 2022 sharing their knowledge about software-defined networking at TNC22, the research and education networking conference.

Here’s a look at where to find ESnet at the conference: 

Wednesday, 6/15

CEO Roundtable
Wednesday 6/15 – 8:30-16:30 CEST | Room B
Invitation only

ESnet executive director Inder Monga will join 70 CEOs from research networks around the world for a conversation about best practices, advancements in technology, and the future of scientific networking. 

Data Mobility Exhibition
Wednesday 6/15 – 10:30-11:00 CEST | Demonstration Area
Presenter: Eli Dart

Data mobility is a critical component of the process of science. Being able to predictably and efficiently move scientific data between experimental source, processing facilities, long term storage, and collaborators is a common use case that transcends the boundaries of research disciplines. The demo transfers reference data sets from well-tuned Data Transfer Nodes (DTNs) to existing campus CI components. Participants will upload, download, measure, and potentially improve their scientific data movement capabilities as well as review previous tests.

Thursday 6/16

Session: Real Life Network Orchestration

Building a Realistic Orchestration Validation Environment for netwoRks (ROVER)
Thursday 6/16 – 09:00 – 10:30 CEST | Auditorium
Speakers: Chris Cummings, Nick Buraglio 

Building software that controls network equipment has many similarities to traditional software engineering, however, testing this software introduces many complexities unique to the network orchestration world. Join this talk to learn how we approached these challenges by building a Realistic Orchestration Validation Environment for netwoRks (ROVER) at ESnet.

Session: Data Driven Networking

Superfacility – A Blueprint for Supporting Large-Scale Scientific Workflows
Thursday 6/16 – 11:00 – 12:30 CEST | Auditorium
Speaker: Chin Guok

Data-intensive workflows have been a mainstay of large scale collaborative scientific research for several decades. However, with the growing exponential rate of data that instruments can produce today, there needs to be a paradigm shift in how distributed resources are requested and utilized across the various facilities that contribute to these data-intensive workflows. A “Superfacility” model, which seamlessly integrates instrument, computing, storage, and networking facilities, is required to more effectively support these increasingly demanding workflows. This talk will present on the desired characteristics for a Superfacility, discuss specific use cases, and highlight some activities and initiatives in this area.

Exploring the BBRv2 Congestion Control Algorithm for use on Data Transfer Nodes
Thursday 6/16 – 11:00 – 12:30 CEST | Auditorium
Speaker: Eli Dart 

It is well known that loss-based TCP congestion control algorithms are problematic for high-speed, high-latency flows that are common in Big Science. In 2016 Google released a new congestion control algorithm called ‘BBR’ (Bottleneck Bandwidth and Round-trip time) that uses a model-based approach, and the design has since been refined in an alpha release of BBRv2. In this paper, we describe and perform a set of experiments that assess the suitability of BBRv2 for use on Data Transfer Nodes (DTNs).


Registration deadlines for TNC are coming up! Registration for regular in-person passes is open until June 6 (unless you want to pay via bank transfer – registration for that closed on May 30th). Free online passes are also available!

[[Editors note: This post has been updated to include information about the Data Mobility Exhibition on 6/15 that was previously excluded]].

ESnet staff attend strategic on-site meetings for the first time in years!

Last week, over 50 ESnet employees gathered at Berkeley Lab for a week of strategizing and socializing. Here are some pictures from their adventures!

Jealous of all the fun we had? Want to hang out with us, too? Good news – Registration will open soon for Confab22, ESnet’s first user meeting! Keep an eye on the blog or pre-register for updates!

3Q with ESnet’s newest computer software engineer: Alex Ray!

Before coming to ESnet, Alex was a network software automation engineer for Charter Communications and sometimes a contractor. In another life, he was a professional artist. He lives in Denver, CO with his wife and two Pekingese, which may actually be aliens in a cute disguise. Enjoys hiking and camping in the mountains, biking (not in the mountains), comics, and the occasional video game. 

What brought you to ESnet?

I was working as a contractor for about a year, helping write code for the Network Services Orchestration (NSO) piece of ESnet and various other parts of the software ecosystem. The people are great, and the fact that the network being deployed and maintained supports scientific research is amazing. Couldn’t resist the offer to work here!

What is the most exciting thing going on in your field right now?

I really like where the Rust programming language is headed, and I’m actively trying to learn more about it so I can implement it in both professional and personal projects.

What book, movie, or podcast would you recommend?

I enjoyed Dune (just read it for the first time). I’ve been trying to read more lately, so maybe ask again in a couple months. I would also highly recommend Darknet Diaries podcast for those interested in stories about cybersecurity/hacking, physical security testing, or social engineering.

ESnet Teams Up for Workshop on Programmable Switches

A collaboration between the University of South Carolina, the Great Plains Network (GPN), and EPOC (a joint effort between Indiana University and ESnet) recently sponsored a two-day workshop on programmable data plane switches, with specific emphasis on Programming Protocol-Independent Packet Processors (P4).

Data plane programmability has attracted significant attention from the research community and industry due to its ability to enable programmers to run customized packet processing functions in the data plane, but so far there has been limited training available on P4. 

P4 is a domain-specific language for network devices, specifying how data plane devices (switches, NICs, routers, filters, etc.) process packets. Using P4, application developers and network engineers can implement specific behavior in the network, enabling changes to be made in minutes instead of years.

“With FABRIC coming online and GPN as a host of one of the nodes, this P4 Workshop was a very welcome educational opportunity for our community” said James Deaton, the executive director of the Great Plains Network, one of the sponsors for the workshop.  

More than 200 people attended the February event, which was presented via the University of South Carolina’s cybertraining system and offered free of charge. ESnet’s Jason Zurawski was among the organizers. Sessions covered the fundamentals of P4 programmable switches, FABRIC’s national cyberinfrastructure, use of P4 switches on campus networks. There were also hands-on sessions covering P4 building blocks, parser implementation in the data plane, populating match-action tables at runtime, and others.