Peering Facility Pacific Wave Uses SDN to Support Dynamic Big Data Connectivity

By Joan Engebretson November 29, 2012

We’re beginning to get accustomed to news involving software-defined network applications within individual service provider networks. But Pacific Wave now has the ability to use SDN within its international peering facility to enable service providers to dynamically establish circuits between one another.

Pacific Wave is a joint project of the Corporation for Education and Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) and the Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP), and its dynamic circuit provisioning capability is based on the On-Demand Secure Circuits and Advanced Reservation System (OSCARS) developed by the U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Sciences Network (ESNet).

“This software is a form of SDN,” wrote a Pacific Wave spokesperson in response to an e-mail inquiry from TMCNet. “Reservations can be made literally seconds before [circuits] are used, so it’s pretty much real-time on-demand.”

Pacific Wave expects dynamic circuit provisioning to be popular primarily with scientific researchers, including those that want to facilitate connections between different science DMZs.

“The most common disciplines that use this are those that involve any sort of ‘big data’ transfer, so that would be apps relating to genomics, ocean research, astronomy, high-energy physics, etc.,” the spokesperson said.

The OSCARS software has some strong credentials, having supported the likes of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. OSCARS enabled the JGI to meet an urgent need for increased computing resources by establishing a high-speed connection to the Magellan cloud computing cluster at National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC).

The JGI and NERSC were already interconnected via ESNet, and after a day of brainstorming, people from JGI, NERSC and ESNet made the decision to use OSCARS to set up a virtual circuit between the two facilities that would appear to JGI users to be part of JGI’s network. It took technical staff at NERSC another day to configure hundreds of processor cores to mimic JGI’s local computing clusters, but the high-speed circuit between the JGI and NERSC was established within an hour.

The Pacific Wave international peering facility is intended primarily to serve research and education network members. It has some commercial members, including Google and Microsoft, but as the Pacific Wave spokesperson explained, “any connection is always made because of a tangible benefit to one of our R&E member networks or institutions – commercial entities that would like to connect would have to request that an R&E Pacific Wave participant with whom they interact contact us on their behalf.”

For example, the spokesperson noted that the University of Montana finds it very useful to use Pacific Wave to connect to Microsoft because “it makes downloading their updates a snap.” Pacific Wave has little to no traffic that goes between two commercial endpoints, the spokesperson said.

The Pacific Wave peering facility connects to the major academic research and education networks in the U.S. and the Pacific Rim, including both National LambdaRail and Internet2. “Pacific Wave is in fact the dominant means by which nearly all the world’s R&E networks cross the Pacific Ocean,” the spokesperson said.

In addition to using SDN to support dynamic circuit provisioning, Pacific Wave is involved with SDN in some other ways, too, the spokesperson said. “We have also enabled OpenFlow-based research as well by connecting to CENIC’s COTN (California OpenFlow Testbed Network)  and also support GENI research  and the DYNES project,” said the spokesperson.




Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

What If You Could Speak to a Holocaust Survivor? Now You Can

By: Alicia Young    4/28/2017

The USC Shoah Foundation was founded by Steven Spielberg in 1994 to document first-hand accounts of the Holocaust for future generations. Since then, …

Read More

Russian Hacker Receives Record-Breaking Prison Sentence

By: Alicia Young    4/27/2017

Roman Valeryevich Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison last week in the U.S. for stealing millions of credit card details from businesses.

Read More

Microsoft Brings New Talent to LinkedIn, Dynamics 365

By: Steve Anderson    4/27/2017

Microsoft gunning for a place in the human capital management sphere with new application, and the addition of Dynamics 365 to LinkedIn.

Read More

Four Tips for Untouchable Intellectual Property

By: Anna Johansson    4/26/2017

Intellectual property is considered an intangible asset and can include things like recipe ingredients, articles, logos, and proprietary systems and p…

Read More

Is it Time for Someone to Clean Slate a Gaming Console?

By: Rob Enderle    4/24/2017

I've been looking at a lot of the comments on game review articles and forums of late, and gamers appear to be disappointed that the games aren't gett…

Read More