Planning an Advanced Network in the Age of Cloud-Scale Datacenters, Open Systems, Software-Driven Everything and Big Science Collaboration

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

By Robert Vietzke, Internet2 Vice President, Network Services

At the 2018 Internet2 Global Summit, Internet2 leadership supporting Advanced Networking services outlined key drivers, goals and plans for a new generation of investment in the Internet2 Network in support of the national and global research and education (R&E) ecosystems.
What’s Changed? Drivers for the Refresh of the R&E Network Infrastructure

The networking industry is at an inflection point where trends already influencing the broader IT ecosystem will impact how the R&E community conceptualizes advanced networks and continues to build on the ecosystem that supports global research. The confluence of trends at the forefront of the network refresh efforts include:

  • Age of Cloud Scale
  • Security
  • Open Network Systems
  • Software Driven Everything
  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
  • Big Science Collaboration

Continued Bandwidth Explosion cuts across all of these trends with the Internet2 Network having gone from transporting 85 Petabytes (PB) of data in 2009-10; to 1,363 PB in 2018.
Economics of network operation have also changed since the operating model of the last Internet2 Network refresh in 2010. To accomplish key objectives of simplifying cloud access and increasing capacity for the big data needs of high performance science, it is key that we find synergies across the community to decrease the operating costs to deliver expanding capacity requirements. Internet2 will be seeking to share optical routes, evaluate consolidation and/or virtualization of routers, automate and employ additional strategies to increase capacity while also reducing costs.
What’s Next? The Infrastructure Planning and Refresh Process

In 2016, a process was initiated to gather community requirements for next-generation networking. Over 30 concept papers were collected and subsequently helped to inform the focus of the R&E community’s future advanced networking needs. Some of these use cases are evolving into experiments that will be performed in an iterative process of evolving the infrastructure. Working groups are also looking at key infrastructure sharing opportunities.
Beginning in 2019, optical infrastructure improvements will be made to enable next-generation capabilities like optical system sharing and 400 gigabit per second (gbps) wavelengths. As the process moves deeper in to 2019, findings of the experiments noted above will be integrated into planning and deployment of additional improvements in other parts of the network. A focus on scientific engagement will also accompany this phase to ensure that the future needs of high performance research are being met.
Working Together

Planning teams consisting of R&E community members and Internet2 staff are being formed to focus on service requirements/models; infrastructure planning; and software/automation to drive service delivery. Community members are encouraged to participate if their schedules allow. In addition to participation in advisory groups, we welcome community members to join the team as embedded contributors. Time commitments for this level could be as little as 1-2 hour meetings, twice per week. In addition to software, systems and network experts, researchers and scientists are also encouraged to participate in these projects and conversations.
There are also two key Internet2 advisory and working groups that are designed to be member conduits for all aspects of designing, operating, sustaining and coordinating advanced network services that support the requirements and aspirations of the Internet2 community.

If you have a question about or are interested in participating in any of these activities, contact networkdevelopment@internet2.edu for more information.
Read about examples of Collaborative Service Delivery Experiments and Proof of Concept projects currently underway.
Stay tuned for more news and updates about the network refresh process. You can also watch a netcast recording (this will open in a new window) of the Advanced Networking session from the 2018 Global Summit.

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