Global Lambda Integrated Facility

GLIF mixes lightpaths and innovation in Singapore

9 October 2013 -- The 13th Annual Global LambaGrid Workshop was held on 2-4 October 2013 at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. As a long-established multi-cultural hub of trade and enterprise and as the home of the latest GLIF Open Lightpath Exchange, Singapore proved to be the ideal location for bringing together more than 80 participants from around the world. The event was hosted by SingAREN and sponsored by BlueTel (Platininum Sponsor), Brocade (Gold Sponsor), Ciena (Silver Sponsor), as well as Pacnet and Cisco. Support was also provided by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University.

The keynote speech was given by Shinji Shimojo of Osaka University and NICT who discussed the challenges of innovation and how it's invariably emergent rather than planned. This sort of innovation has driven the evolution of the Internet, and is why it's important to provide facilities such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) to encourage and support this. Ken Cheng of Brocade then continued this theme by discussing how on-demand data centres were important elements in providing the flexible computing resources increasingly required for facilitating innovation.

The opening plenary session then heard about specific developments in the GLIF community, including from Rob Vietzke (Internet2) who presented ANA-100G, the world's first intercontinental connection running at 100 Gb/s; and from David Wilde (AARNet) who presented how big e-science such as radio astronomy is being supported in Australia. Lars Fischer (NORDUnet) also provided a vision of the future role of open lightpath exchanges within a global network architecture.

The following afternoon and morning sessions were devoted to the Technical Working Group. This opened with updates on current GLIF Open Lightpath Exchanges (GOLEs), which included a new open exchange in Santiago, Chile that would be connected to AMPATH in Miami and SouthernLight in São Paulo.

This was followed by updates on the work of the AutoGOLE, NSI Implementation and Performance Verification Task Forces. The Distributed Topology Exchange Task Force also presented its final report, and with its leader Jeroen van der Ham (University of Amsterdam) taking up another position, he was thanked for his efforts over the years.

There were then further discussions on how GLIF can support network virtualisation and integration with computing and storage facilities. Does the community need to adopt a common approach to this, and how can it better support distributed computing? Some specific examples were the Internet2 Advanced Layer 2 Service (AL2S) which would allow experimenters to deploy their own experimental SDN controllers, the GN3plus project's Testbeds-as-a-Service (TaaS) which would allow new protocols to be tested in protected environment, and OpenNaaS, which allowed virtual network resources to be dynamically managed. This led into presentations from Robert Jenkins (Helix Nebula), David Wallom (EGI) and Boudewijn Lelieveldt (Leiden University Medical Center) who provided input from the perspective of researchers.

The session concluded with Erik-Jan Bos (NORDUnet) presenting the work-in-progress of the CEO Forum sub-group on Global Network Architecture, also known as GNA. This aims to create a blueprint for how R&E networks will be interconnected in 5 to 10 years time, using elements such as open exchange points and spectrum on intercontinental cable systems. It was agreed that the GLIF Technical Working Group will be used as a platform for the GNA work, leveraging the knowledge and expertise of the GLIF Community.

During the evening of the first day, several demonstrations were organised at the A*STAR Biopolis research and development centre. These included the High Performance Digital Media Network (HPMDnet) supporting extremely high volume data streams over the iGENI international OpenFlow testbed; the GLIF Automated GOLE pilot that uses the OGF Network Service Interface to set-up inter-domain lightpaths on demand; the RISE controller running an OpenFlow/SDN testbed on the JGN-X network; and an intelligent OpenFlow controller implementation that can address the performance limitations inherent in intercontinental-scale OpenFlow networks caused by large round trip times of control messages.

Several complimentary meetings had been held in the days preceding the workshop, including the Governance Working Group that approved the budget for 2014 and confirmed the host of GLIF 2014. There were also meetings of the Open Grid Forum NSI Working Group, the GLIF Americas Working Group, and the GLORIAD project that is a collaboration of several countries and carriers to bring lightpath infrastructure to scientific users.

The closing plenary session saw presentations from Fang-Pang Lin (NCHC) on the Earth Science Observational Data Infrastructure in Taiwan; Eric Choi (Brocade) on the future of SDN; Jeff Weekley (Naval Postgraduate School) on supporting 100 Gb/s applications on campus; and Sergi Figuerola (i2CAT) on the RINA architecture. This was followed by a very vibrant panel session on the 'Fuure Architecture of Global R&E Networking' that was moderated by Lars Fischer (NORDUnet) and featured Steve Cotter (REANNZ), Kees Neggers (SURF), Rob Vietzke (Internet2) and David Wilde (AARNet).

The workshop concluded with a closing address from the GLIF Chair Kees Neggers (SURF) who thanked SingAREN for hosting an excellent workshop, as well as the participants for their active participation who ensure that GLIF continues to be a vibrant and global community shaping next-generation research networking.

Next year's 14th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop will be held on 29 September - 1 October 2014 in Queenstown, New Zealand, hosted by REANNZ.

The proceedings of the workshop are available at

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