Global Lambda Integrated Facility

New GLIF Task Forces in Full Swing

26 January 2012 -- The GLIF Technical Working Group (Tech WG) put both the 'GLIF Performance Verification Architectures' and the 'NSI Implementation' task forces into full swing in Louisiana's capital. The proposal for the new 'GLIF Architecture Task Force' led to a sparkling discussion with the aim at drafting the charter of the task force and a preliminary GLIF architecture paper by the next coming Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop. The 'Distributed Topology Exchange Task Force' strengthened its position with a detailed workplan and list of deliveries over the next 18 months; the task force is now co-chaired by Jeroen van der Ham (University of Amsterdam) and Inder Monga (ESnet).

The 17th GLIF Technical Working Group meeting was held on 25-26 January 2012 at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, United States. This was traditionally organised in conjunction with the Internet2/ESnet Joint Techs Workshop. The two-day event attracted 32 people and generated lively discussions among the participants from Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Lars Fischer (NORDUnet), the chair of the Tech WG, pointed out that GLIF is the incubator of innovative ideas and a proven model for global collaboration that enables e-science and e-education around the globe. Erik-Jan Bos (NORDUnet) recommended reading the three recent papers published by Bill St. Arnaud, by SURFnet, and by NORDUnet about open lightpath exchanges and hybrid networking. The definition of distributed open exchanges and the notion of 'policy neutral' open exchange points were the cornerstones of the follow-up discussion that will continue on the mailing list and may lead to new updates to the aforementioned technical papers. Lars elaborated on the issue of link policies, illustrated by a NORDUnet example, an area that is needing more attention as the research and education networks evolve towards a global service provider model. Peter Szegedi (TERENA) announced the 'End-to-End Lightpath Services Workshop for Campuses' to be organised by TERENA in the first half of 2012. The harmonisation and integration of the campus networks and the scientific applications' software stacks with the GOLE infrastructure requires an extensive dialogue between the application designers and the network engineers. This campus oriented workshop will facilitate the collection of use cases and the efficient sharing of knowledge between the campus IT people and the research network engineers.

At the end of the first day Marek Blazewicz (PSNC) talked about their experiences in deploying the high-end visualization application in the transatlantic GLIF environment. JJ Jamison (Juniper Networks) gave a brief update on GLORIAD that connects research networks in the northern hemisphere and talked about a plan for establishing of GulfLight exchange point that can be the enabler of new NRENs, ensure a well-connected research & higher education in the Persian Gulf, and position the region as a hub for global connectivity. Artur Barczyk (USLHCNet) summarised what has happened in LHCONE since the last meeting in Rio de Janeiro, and showed the way forward with testing of emerging network protocols such as the Network Services Interface (NSI).

The second day of the meeting was dedicated to the task force discussions. The 'Dynamic GOLE Services Task Force', led by Jerry Sobieski (NORDUnet), is planning to upgrade its Automated GOLE Infrastructure introducing meshing and alternate paths in the topology. It was pointed out that the infrastructure is a cutting-edge experimental facility to try out new technologies and applications. This facility also demonstrates how the notion of GOLEs can function in a global network. GLIF participants will use the learning from this effort to deploy next-generation lightpath services in their production networks.

The 'Distributed Topology Exchange Task Force' completed its first survey about topology and automated provisioning. Inder Monga (ESnet), the new co-chair, encouraged the meeting participants to try and agree on a machine readable topology description format and start collecting the potential tools for its representation. It was agreed that the security and identity considerations must be built into the path-finding process.

The new 'NSI Implementation Task Force', also led by Inder, aims at facilitating the production deployment of OGF's NSI standard protocol implementations. John MacAuley (SURFnet) emphasised that implementation agreements, best practices and operational guidelines are needed to bridge the gap between the standard and its production deployment.

The 'GLIF Performance Verification Task Force', initiated by Jerry Sobieski (NORDUnet) and Steve Wolff (Internet2), is a green field approach on how to verify that the network service is engineered as it is required by the user. The performance verification architecture must be designed in a service independent way. Jerry encouraged people to start creating an inventory of the potential performance verification tools on the Wiki however the current set of tools should not restrict us in how to define the overall architecture.

Erik-Jan Bos (NORDUnet) gave a brief historic overview of the GLIF and positioned the work of GLIF as the area between research and the production environment, in the areas of the network, middleware and applications. It is not trivial how to step from working technology prototypes to production services. The definition of a GLIF reference architecture is the main objective of the newly formed 'GLIF Architecture Task Force' already proposed in Rio de Janeiro that will help to understand better the end-to-end e-science workflow.

The next GLIF Tech WG meeting will be held during the 12th Annual LambdaGrid Workshop in Chicago, IL, USA on 11-12 October 2012.

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