Global Lambda Integrated Facility

Capital Ideas in DC

7 March 2015 -- The GLIF Technical Working Group held a meeting on 19-20 March 2014 in conjunction with the 22nd GENI Engineering Conference and the 43rd Open Grid Forum in Washington D.C, USA. This was attended by nearly 50 participants from around the world who discussed current GLIF technical activities, whilst looking ahead at GLIF’s role in developing a future global architecture for research and education networks.

The main development under discussion was the potential of software-defined exchanges (SDXs) to expand the functionality of existing software-defined network testbeds. Current SDN architecture is centralised around a single domain structure, but there is a requirement for multi-domain resource discovery, signalling provisioning, and fault detection and recovery. This will require the development of new multi-domain path controllers, advertising/discovery protocols, topology exchange, and policy control mechanisms. The NSF-funded StarLight SDX project aims to develop the first SDX as a proof-of-concept linking GENI network resources, two data intensive science campuses, and experimenters on at least two research networks. The wider aim is to develop a global inter-SDX federation building on existing GLIF resources that can utilise distributed computing ‘slices’ for data intensive applications such as bioinformatics and genomics.

This led to further discussions about multi-domain SDN and the role of GLIF in facilitating SDN testbeds and interoperation. It was agreed that it was too early to establish a task force to work on these issues, but that the topic would be facilitated at future GLIF meetings.

Dale Finkelson (Internet2) led a discussion on the elements that will be necessary to build an effective global architecture, which is primarily concerned with connecting intercontinental links to exchange points where participant networks can connect. This will not only require agreed common technical capabilities for these exchange points, but changes to governance and operational practices, the introduction of more open acceptable use policies, and standardised service level agreements. Whilst GLIF can contribute in some of the areas such as dynamic lightpath provisioning and SDN, some the wider issues that would need to be taken-up at NREN management level.

The Network Services Interface Task Force led by John MacAuley (ESnet) had been very active in formulating service definitions and mapping NSI and NML (Network Markup Language) to build-up descriptions of network topologies. The next steps were to define a new NML schema for NSAs (Network Services Agents), and for network deployments to advertise their service elements in NML topologies to allow path finders to start building-up better pictures of service domains. A cookbook and best practice documents were also in the pipeline to facilitate implementation.

The AutoGOLE Task Force led by Gerben van Malenstein (SURFnet) had also had successful year with the implementation of NSI-CSv2.0, topology exchange, TLS on the control plane, OpenFlow-based controlling and tests with authorisation and authentication. AutoGOLE could now practically deliver dynamic lightpath set-up between most GOLEs (Global Open Lightpath Exchanges), and had been successfully demonstrated at Supercomputing 2014, Open Cloud eXchange (OCX) and previously UltraGrid and NEXPReS. Operational experience had revealed the requirement for a monitoring system and a more redundant control plane, especially as it would be necessary to support new LHC sites that were starting to connect to the AutoGOLE system in 2015.

The Performance Verification Task Force led by Jerry Sobieski (NORDUnet) was producing a position paper on performance verification architectures as input for the FIRE/GENI and GN4 project activities. There was also an ongoing effort to collect requirements for perfSONAR, and to develop a deployment guide for perfSONAR nodes at GOLEs.

Finally, there is an open Call for Demonstrations for GLIF 2015 in Prague later in the year. CESNET is planning to make available a 100 GE connection via NetherLight, and will also have a SAGE wall and multiple 4K cameras, so anyone interested in organising a demo, should send their requirements to 'Michael Krsek' by 19 April 2015.

Thanks are expressed thanks to GENI and George Washington University for hosting the meeting.

The next meeting will be held during the 15th Annual LambdaGrid Workshop (GLIF 2015) in Prague on 29-30 September 2015.

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