Latest Updates on Visualizing, Managing, and Troubleshooting With the Internet2 Insight Console

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By Mike Simpson, Internet2 Director of Infrastructure Systems and Software

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Have you taken the new Internet2 Insight Console for a spin yet? Whether you’re a network engineer, security analyst, researcher, or otherwise curious community member, we are designing and developing the console with you in mind.

Internet2 Insight Console logo

This spring, we announced the first available feature in the console: Looking Glass. Since then, we have been developing new functionality as the building blocks for what’s coming next.

Underlying Architecture for a Powerful Tool

The Insight Console is a web-based tool for visualizing, managing, and troubleshooting all Internet2 network services. It’s the most visible part of a much larger architecture encompassing front-end tools and utilities; an underlying REST-based API layer; a growing number of back-end automation and management systems and services accessed through the API; and the physical infrastructure (optical and packet) under management through those services.

That internal architecture is embedded in a broader ecosystem of external applications providing business functionality, documentation, identity and access management, telemetry, monitoring and alerting, incident management, service requests, and other related services.

A closer look at the Internet2 Insight Console’s core architecture (left) and extended architecture (right).

First Features: Looking Glass, Community, and More

At the 2023 Internet2 Community Exchange, we demoed two features of the Insight Console. The first is Looking Glass, which will replace the existing Router Proxy service being decommissioned on Sept. 30. The second is Community, which allows visualization and management of organizations, roles, and people.

Since CommEX, we have been working on two additional pieces of Insight Console functionality:

  • Interfaces allows exploration, discovery, and management of the Internet2 Platform, Internet2 Cloud Connect (I2CC), Rapid Private Interconnect (RPI), and other ports used by Internet2 members.
  • Virtual Networks offers similar functions to the existing OESS/I2CC service within an updated and expanded interface that is integrated into the overall Insight Console experience.

For all this work, we are using a user-centered design process, which starts with early design activities via direct user research, direction, and recommendations from several Internet2-sponsored groups and committees as well as the higher-level vision expressed in the developing Internet2 Five-Year Roadmap. Those design functions are then complemented with extensive usability testing during development, along with feedback and analytics gathered during production operation, to produce a constantly-evolving set of requirements that guides current implementation and future activities.

What’s Next for the Insight Console

Right now we are heads-down in intensive development efforts, finishing off all of the various pieces of the architecture that will complete the Interfaces and Virtual Networks functionality in the console. This work is complex and requires implementation and coordination across all of the layers of the architecture – including the console, API, and supporting systems. But it’s going well, and everything is starting to come together, which is very exciting for us.

In parallel with the development efforts, we’ve been working on the migration strategy that will let us translate all of the existing OESS/I2CC data (i.e., workgroups, access control lists, circuits) into our new Virtual Networks data model and services, including organizations, delegations, and virtual spaces and connections. This is a broad effort that requires the participation of most teams within Internet2 Network Services, along with colleagues from Indiana University’s GlobalNOC. We are bringing all the critical staff together for a face-to-face retreat in Ann Arbor in August to drive out the migration details and determine when we’ll be ready to complete that process and cut over from OESS/I2CC to the Insight Console.

We’re also working on developing documentation and training materials with the help of some internal early adopters at Internet2.

Join Us at TechEX

We have a lot to talk about at the 2023 Internet2 Technology Exchange, Sept. 18-22 in Minneapolis. If you plan to attend, please feel free to contact me or other members of the Internet2 Network Services Infrastructure Systems and Software team directly if you would like to talk about anything described above in greater detail.