Global Lambda Integrated Facility

GLIF breaks the ice with light

21 February 2007 -- The GLIF Technical and Control Plane Working Groups held meetings on 14-15 February 2007 in conjunction with the Internet2/ESCC Joint Techs Workshop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. This involved thirty-eight participants from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America, and despite the freezing temperatures outside, there was plenty of energetic discussion on a variety of new and ongoing topics.

In keeping with established tradition, the meetings opened with a joint session of the working groups to review progress from the previous meetings in Tokyo in September 2006. There followed an update on how the TL1 Toolkit being developed by SARA is used to monitor the status of lightpaths at the NetherLight GOLE (GLIF Open Lightpath Exchange) in Amsterdam. The toolkit provides a Perl-based interface to the TL1 command syntax used by a variety of optical and photonic equipment, and has been used to further develop a web interface for managing the various connections. This toolkit works with most TL1-compliant devices, and is available in the public domain under an Apache 2.0 licence.

There was also an update on the XML-based Network Description Language being developed by the University of Amsterdam. This aims to allow a distributed repository of GLIF resources for connection, scheduling and policy purposes to be created, as well as providing a means to automatically generate topological diagrams (e.g. using Google Earth). A number of GOLEs have already contributed their descriptions, and the system had been successfully demonstrated at Supercomputing 2006 in November of last year. Work is now ongoing to extend the language for other applications, and towards a standardised language within the context of the Open Grid Forum NML Working Group.

In its separate session, the Technical Working Group discussed how to further improve coordination between GOLEs, as well as how GLIF resources should be presented. It was also agreed that NGIX-East in Washington D.C. (part of Atlantic Wave), and the Pacific Wave optical exchange in Los Angeles should be added to the list of GOLEs. Pacific Wave is a collaboration between CENIC and the Pacific Northwest GigaPoP.

In addition, the Technical Working Group discussed how to monitor and measure hybrid networks. There are many tools available for monitoring traditional IP networks, but lightpaths are connection-oriented and may be static or dynamic. Monitoring and measurement is needed so that NRENs can identify which services are being utilised, whether there are performance bottlenecks at different layers of the network, and potentially for planning and pricing purposes. There is also a requirement to predict usage of lightpaths, which requires new statistical models to be devised.

The Control Plane Working Group session discussed how to create an inter-domain service provision architecture. This involves determining which network resources are available and how they're interconnected, in order to create lightpaths on demand. It is proposed to maintain this information in repositories, so it's necessary to establish standard protocols for submitting and retrieving such information. There were also updates about the existing control plane activities being undertaken by the DRAGON and HOPI projects, as well as the Enlightened Testbed which runs GMPLS E-NNI between three separate domains.

The next meetings will be held during the 7th Annual LambdaGrid Workshop in Prague, Czech Republic on 17-18 September 2007.

About GLIF -- The Global Lambda Integrated Facility is an international virtual organisation of NRENs, consortia and institutions that promotes lambda networking. GLIF provides lambdas internationally as an integrated facility to support data-intensive scientific research, and supports middleware development for lambda networking. It brings together some of the world's premier networking engineers to develop an international infrastructure by identifying equipment, connection requirements, and necessary engineering functions and services. More information is available on the GLIF website at

About TERENA -- TERENA is the association of research and education networking organisations in and around Europe. TERENA organises technical activities and provides a platform for discussion and collaboration to encourage the development of high-quality computer networking infrastructures and services for the European research community. It also operates the GLIF Secretariat, funded by donations from sponsors. For more information, see the TERENA website at