Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ESnet Builds GMPLS Optical VPNs with Infinera

ESnet, the high-performance research network operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, is using Infinera's DTN platform to offer optical virtual private networks (OVPNs) to academic and government research institutes.

OVPNs will be designed to enable ESnet users to manage their own virtual private network securely over the shared Infinera infrastructure. In addition, the network will be designed to enable OVPN users to dynamically provision circuits on the network on demand, when and where they need them.

The network topology includes the following: Infinera's DWDM optical systems are General Multiprotocol Label Switching (GMPLS)-enabled. The deployed Layer 2 switches will additionally support OpenFlow, an open standard that provides a standardized interface to add and remove flow table entries in an Ethernet switch. Layer 3 routers currently include small Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)-enabled routers, compatible with ESnet's Science Data Network (SDN) running On-demand Secure Circuit and Reservation System or OSCARS.

The Infinera systems support the ability to experiment with multi-domain hybrid networking, enabling research activities targeted at multi-layer, multi-domain control and signaling.

"The ability to isolate and segregate traffic in different control planes for the different types of traffic is key," said Steve Cotter, head of ESnet. "This will allow researchers to test new protocols that can dynamically provision layer 1, 2 or 3 virtual circuits so traffic can be transferred to the most cost-effective layer. We transport very large datasets on our network for climate science and physics. The near term goal is to learn how to identify flows and move them down to the layer where they can be transported with greatest efficiency."

The deployment is part of ESnet's Advanced Network Initiative (ANI) testbed, which is funded by $62 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In the next few months, ESnet will be issuing a call for proposals for users to conduct research on the testbed. ESnet is also issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for equipment vendors and service providers to build the next phase of the ANI project; a planned nationwide 100G prototype network that is slated to link three of DOE's major supercomputing centers-- NERSC at Berkeley Lab, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee-- and MANLAN, the international exchange point in New York.