Global Lambda Integrated Facility

New task force proposed on issues of governance for Open Lightpath Exchanges

30 March 2011 -- A proposal for a new task force about governance issues was made recently at the GLIF (Global Lambda Integrated Facility) meeting in Hong Kong, China. The task force would address GLIF Open Lightpath Exchange (GOLE) governance and policy issues and provide a single voice in discussions with stakeholder groups like governments, external users and funding agencies. A meeting will take place during the Internet2 Spring Member meeting on 19 April, 2011, 19:00 - 20:30 in salon C, to discuss and decide on the creation of this new task force, potentially under GLIF's Governance Working Group.

Background -- The number of GOLEs has increased significantly with facilities in Asia, Europe and North America. Equally, there are increasing numbers of optical network connections between GOLEs. However, there is no consistent practice at each GOLE in terms of support, responsibility, funding, etc. Although GLIF has a working group to address issues such as funding and organisation, individual GOLEs have their own advisory and technical committees.

Future global e-infrastructure is expected to be built around open lightpath exchange points and federated optical networks. New major e-science programmes such as the Large Hadron Collider's Open Network Environment (LHCONE) will favour the development of GOLEs. New network initiatives such as Internet2's proposed 'distributed' lightpath exchange points and RENATER's optical network connection between Lyon and CERN may also drive demand for this type of infrastructure.

These and other factors have contributed to the need for a broad governance framework for open lightpath exchanges. 'Governance' in this context does not mean central management or control, but refers to 'issues of governance', addressed by a task force whose participants discuss and agree how parties interact to provide end-to-end solutions. Issues could include acceptable use policy for GOLEs and optical links, procedures for accessing a GOLE's lightpath when demand exceeds supply, tributary access connections to GOLEs usually controlled and managed by third parties, and GOLE contact procedures.

Bill St Arnaud, who has recently been retained under contract by SURFnet as a consultant, is prepared to lead the proposed task force should it come to fruition. All GLIF participants are encouraged to participate in discussions to help define the task force's scope and mode of operation. A mailing list called 'GLIF Architecture Task Force' has been created by the GLIF secretariat to facilitate related dialogue:

You can subscribe to the mailing list here.

Other GLIF developments -- The GLIF meeting was held on 24-25 February 2011, in conjunction with the APRICOT-APAN 2011 Conference. More than 50 people attended both the GLIF Technical Working Group sessions and a demonstration of the Automated GOLE Pilot project's activities. This exciting demonstration showed how GLIF lightpaths can be established on a scheduled basis - 15 circuits were scheduled with a new circuit being provisioned every minute and staying in service for 15 minutes. Prior to the demonstration, Jerry Sobieski (NORDUnet) presented an architectural proposal for defining, engineering and verifying performance guaranteed services. Discussion about the potential creation of a task force within the GLIF Technical Working Group to cover these issues will take place at the next Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop in Rio de Janeiro.

Other meeting highlights included a presentation by Evangelos Chaniotakis (ESnet), during which is was decided to close the Generic Network Interface Specifications (GNI-API) Task Force since it has completed its objectives, an update by Inder Monga (ESnet) on the accomplishments of the Open Grid Forum's Network Service Interface (NSI) Working Group, a presentation from Ronald van der Pol (SARA) on the status of the Campus Networking Task Force, an introduction of the LHCONE project by Artur Barczyk (USLHCnet) and a panel discussion chaired by Gigi Karmous-Edwards (NCSU) during which the panel agreed on a roadmap towards an NSI implementation and automated GOLE production service by the end of 2012. Several organisations have agreed to participate in implementing the NSI protocol version 1, which will be completed on 30 March 2011. Organisations with existing Network Resource Managers are encouraged to implement the NSI API for the purpose of increasing interoperability.

Repeating an earlier announcement made by email, Erik-Jan Bos told participants that he was stepping down as co-chair of the GLIF Technical Working Group as he was ending his employment at SURFnet. Lars Fischer (NORDUnet) took over the role at the end of the meeting following approval by the meeting participants.

The Hong Kong meeting minutes can be found here.

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