Global Lambda Integrated Facility

Salt flats inspire speedy networks

16 February 2010 -- The GLIF Technical Working Group held a meeting on 3-4 February 2010 in conjunction with the Internet2/ESCC Joint Techs Workshop in Salt Lake City, USA.

The famous salt flats of Utah have inspired many technological developments over the years that have enabled hostile terrain to be settled, global software brands to be created, and of course numerous land speed records to be established. A similar pioneering approach saw forty-five participants converge from around the world, to discuss some significant developments in the GLIF community. A number of small task forces had previously been formed to work on specific issues related to the provisioning of lightpath services, and these reported on their achievements.

The GNI API Task Force, headed by Evangelos Chaniotakis (ESnet), is developing a generic network interface (GNI) for making lightpath reservation requests, as well as building a software framework called Fenius to facilitate translation between GNI and different reservation control systems. The aim is to converge various existing initiatives (e.g Harmony, G-lambda, IDC), in order to standardise and enhance lightpath resource management. The Fenius software successfully translated reservation requests to several different control systems including GEANT's IDC, Japan's G-Lambda, a Korean implementation, and the Phosphorus project's Harmony during demonstrations at SC'09 and the 9th Global LambdaGrid Workshop. The next steps were to undertake more testing, enhance the security model, and add several more calls to the API.

The Dynamic GOLE Task Force, headed by John Vollbrecht (Internet2), was established to define common policies and best practices for GLIF Open Lightpath Exchanges (GOLEs), and to investigate how to provision these. The MANLAN, NetherLight, NorthernLight and StarLight GOLEs will be implementing Fenius to translate bandwidth requests to the underlying control mechanisms such as DRAC and OSCARS. The aim was to make automated GOLE capabilities available for demonstrations in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The perfSONAR Task Force, headed by Thomas Tam (CANARIE), aimed to show the usability and functionality of perfSONAR as a lightpath monitoring tool. It had been successfully demonstrated at previous Global LambdaGrid Workshops, but this had revealed that further enhancements were required to support dynamic circuit configuration and topology services. It was therefore agreed that the architecture should be reviewed from an operational standpoint, with a view to making recommendations to the developers. The development of a web client was also considered desirable.

The Global Identifiers Task Force, headed by Ronald van der Pol (SARA), also made its final report. This had published a scheme for uniquely naming lightpaths, which had already been adopted by NetherLight, StarLight, KRLight and JANET Lightpaths.

There followed active discussions whereby missing functionality was identified, and how this should be addressed. In addition, consideration was also given as to how to promote the use of GLIF facilities by end sites. This lead to three new task forces being formed to work on these issues.

This included a Distributed Topology Exchange Task Force, led by Jeroen van der Ham (University of Amsterdam), which would investigate how to exchange inter-domain topology information based on existing intra-domain solutions. This would work in conjunction with the GNI-API and Dynamic GOLE Task Forces, and would also consider path computation issues. The mailing list is ''.

The Resource Allocation Task Force, led by Gigi Karmous-Edwards (NCSU), would focus on how to exchange policy and authorisation information. It would start by looking existing practices, with a view to developing a mechanism which can be used within the GLIF community. The mailing list is ''.

It was also agreed to create a Campus Networking Task Force, led by Ronald van der Pol (SARA). This aimed to reach out to campus networkers by determining their needs and requirements; producing information on how to setup and use lightpaths; and through encouraging and supporting tests and demos. The mailing list is ''.

Erik-Jan Bos (SURFnet) and Gigi Karmous-Edwards (NCSU), the Co-Chairs of the GLIF Technical Working Group, said these developments were the culmination of an extremely productive meeting, and things were clearly moving forward in GLIF. They also expressed thanks to Internet2, ESnet and the University of Utah for hosting the meeting.

The next meeting will be held during the 10th Annual LambdaGrid Workshop in Geneva, Switzerland on 13-14 October 2010.

About GLIF -- The Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) 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