Global Lambda Integrated Facility

Taking a Bohemian view on R&E networking

18 October 2015 -- The 15th Annual Global LambaGrid Workshop was held on 28-30 September 2015 at the Hotel International, Prague, Czech Republic. More than 110 participants from around the world came to discuss the visions for future research and education networking, whilst also honouring the 20th anniversary of the founding of the host organisation CESNET, the Czech National Research and Education Network. The event was sponsored by Ciena, Cisco and Juniper (Gold Sponsors), ComSource and ICS Intercom Systems (Bronze Sponsors), with support also provided by České Radiokomunikace.

After the opening welcome from Jan Gruntorad, Director of CESNET, the keynote was provided by Erik-Jan Bos of NORDUnet who discussed interconnecting research and education networks to facilitate ubiquitous guaranteed bandwidth and best efforts services on a global scale. This include a vision for intercontinental networking architecture building on existing initiatives such as ANA-200G and AmLight based around open exchange points. Jiri Navratil then discussed some practical example of how the GLIF initiative had enabled CESNET to develop very high bandwidth video hardware and utilise that technology in nearly 20 countries round the world. He stressed the importance of experimental networks that could enable applications that could not be supported by existing production networks.

The opening plenary session then heard about other developments in the GLIF community, including from David Wilde (AARnet) who presented on how GLIF was being used in conjunction with SDN and the Openstack Cloud computing platform to support Australian research; and from Jiri Melnikov (CESNET) on the issues of using latency critical applications over long distances. Cees de Laat (University of Amsterdam) then presented the Pacific Research Platform built around interconnected Science DMZs of top research institutes that are designed to create secure enclaves for data-intensive science and high-speed data transport separate from general-purpose network infrastructures.

The following afternoon and morning sessions were devoted to the Technical Working Group. This opened with updates on the new open exchange in Singapore (SLIX), the forthcoming ANA-200G between Europe and North America, the Hawaiki cable between Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia, and the new SDX initiative at Pacific Wave. There were also updates on new deployments in Eastern Europe and the Netherlands.

This was followed by regular meetings of the AutoGOLE, NSI Implementation and Performance Verification Task Forces which are developing the components that support the dynamic provisioning and monitoring of lightpath networks, setting the scene for a discussion the next day on the requirements for Global Open Lightpath Exchange (GOLE) operators and Software Defined Exchanges. The session continued with a more in-depth exploration of the Global Network Architecture topic that was raised during the keynote, considering the requirement for both point-to-point, point to multi-point and overlay services that could reach anywhere in the world, before concluding with a presentation on the RINA architecture (Leonardo Bergesio, i2CAT) which aims to unify networking and distributed computing.

At the end of the first day, several demonstrations were organised at the venue. This included a 4K video of orchestration using SDN driven switching, real-time high-bandwidth data streaming from a remote controlled robotic vehicle, read/write to storage at 100 Gb/s bit rates using control plane signalling to create paths over multiple backbones, and a showcase of international SDXs using extensions to support programmable services over multiple network domains. The ongoing work of the GLIF Automated GOLE pilot that can set-up inter-domain lightpaths on demand was also demonstrated, along with the use of InfiniBand over long distances.

Several meetings had been held the day before the workshop, including the Governance Working Group (chaired by Kees Neggers) that approved the budget for 2016, the hosting proposals for GLIF 2016, and the process for selecting a new GLIF Chair. There were also meetings of the OGF NSI Working Group (chaired by Guy Roberts, GÉANT Association), the GLIF Americas Working Group (chaired by Joe Mambretti, StarLight International/National Communications Exchange), and the GLORIAD project (chaired by Greg Cole, GLORIAD) that is a collaboration of several countries and carriers to bring lightpath infrastructure to scientific users.

The closing plenary session saw presentations on the production SDN infrastructure being operated by AmLight (Jeronimo Bezerra, Florida International University); the experiences of the StarLight Software-Defined Networking Exchange (Joe Mambretti, StarLight International/National Communications Exchange); and on the Named Data Networking project (Ramiro Voicu, Caltech) which is running a testbed that changes traditional network paradigms by facilitating the fetching of data identified by a name from the network. This was followed by a presentation on deploying alien wavelengths between the US and Brazil (Chip Cox, AmLight).

This was followed by a lively panel session on the ‘Acquiring Subsea Spectrum' that was moderated by Erik-Jan Bos (NORDUnet) and featured Chip Cox (AmLight), Dale Finkelson (Internet2), Joe Mambretti (StarLight International/National Communications Exchange), David Wilde (AARNet), Rod Wilson (Ciena) and Charles Yun (REANNZ). This discussed the opportunities and challenges of acquiring and operating trans-oceanic lightpaths, an area of networking that has traditionally not been the purview of research and education networks but is increasingly looking to be a requirement as collaborative research acquires a global scope.

The workshop concluded with a closing address from GLIF Chair Kees Neggers (SURF) who thanked CESNET for hosting the workshop as well as Jan Gruntorad’s longstanding contributions to research and education networking over many years. He also announced that he would be standing down as the GLIF Chair as he had now retired from SURF and he felt the role needed someone who was actively involved in research and education networking forums. His successor still needed to be chosen by the community, but he hoped this would happen by the end of the year.

A motion was passed thanking Kees for leading GLIF since its inception, but also for his contributions to the wider development of the Internet. GLIF will continue though, with next year's 16th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop (GLIF 2016) being held on 29-30 September 2016 in Miami, USA, hosted by Internet2 and Florida International University and co-located with Internet2 Technology Exchange 2016.

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