STARPLANE PROJECT DRIVES GLOBAL INNOVATION AND COLLABORATION WITH REAL-TIME DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING
NOVEMBER 13, 2007
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - SURFnet, a global leader in advanced network research, is enhancing the collaborative powers of academics at universities and higher education institutions in The Netherlands using a Nortel [NYSE/TSX: NT] intelligent optical solution. The network powers the showcase StarPlane project which utilises pure optical technology to deliver on-demand computing power.
The 40Gbps-ready Adaptive All Optical Intelligent solution for SURFnet includes the Dynamic Resource Allocation Controller (DRAC) which enables user-control of network resources for high-performance networking applications like computing and media services.
The SURFnet6 network delivers routed IP and lightpath services to 180 institutes for research and higher education in The Netherlands. Dutch institutions use advanced research collaboration worldwide in fields as diverse as medical research and radio astronomy. These disciplines also require user-controlled networking resources and it is for these applications that DRAC has been developed.
DRAC provides users with a web interface for point-and-click or automated activation of wavelengths on a network carrying live traffic. This allows users to create and schedule point-to-point connections on the network at will, delivering the flexibility and efficiency of networking in scientific experiments and applications. The intelligent Nortel solution delivers simple, user-controlled, on-demand access to a network of wavelength switches for enabling bandwidth-intensive research tasks such as medical imaging and radio astronomy. The service gives end-users the ability to deploy high bandwidth connections between locations on the network for temporary use, for example to connect scientific instruments, stream high quality live video, or share computing resources.
The StarPlane project provides researchers with access to massive computing power delivering the equivalent of the processing capacity of 500 personal computers to the desktop. StarPlane uses pure optical technology to link the Distributed ASCI Supercomputer 3 (DAS-3) computer clusters at five locations in The Netherlands into a grid to enable delivery of bandwidth on-demand, e.g. enabling computer scientists to reconfigure the topology of the distributed supercomputer. On-demand service activation of photonic networking is delivered using an extension to Nortel's Dynamic Resource Allocation Controller (DRAC) platform.
"SURFnet6 is a global showcase for how adaptive optical intelligent networks can be used to support the work of researchers in academic institutions worldwide," said Peter Newcombe, president, Carrier Networks, Nortel EMEA. "The optical solution for SURFnet can also be applied to other areas such as using digital technology to distribute and project movies, healthcare for medical imaging, or any business that needs to deliver bandwidth-intensive media streams."
"Our next-generation hybrid optical and packet switching network delivered a paradigm shift in research networking," said Kees Neggers, managing director, SURFnet. "The full photonic implementation of the SURFnet6 network brings alive the possibilities created by coupling the applications and the network and is delivering a flexible application network experience that puts the high-end users and advanced applications in the driver's seat."
"Traditionally networks are seen as unpredictable resources and this project is changing that picture allowing for a wealth of new research," said Cees de Laat, associate professor at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). "With grid middleware interacting directly on the nationwide photonic layer enabling specification of optimal topologies per computational job, we are able to add another dimension in the resource allocation algorithms."
The SURFnet6 network, built using Nortel's Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 and Nortel's Common Photonic Layer is deployed across the more than 7000 kms of optical fibre. SURFnet6 links to the international lightpath-capable networks in Amsterdam through NetherLight, the GLIF Open Lightpath Exchange in Amsterdam and to other European research networks for example through the pan European GEANT2 network.
The Adaptive All Optical Intelligent Solution utilizes eROADMs (enhanced Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer) that provides seamless photonic switching of lightpaths. eDCO (electronically Dynamically Compensating Optics) enabled DWDM 10Gbps transponders extend the reach of light paths throughout the SURFnet network while simplifying the network and reducing its operational costs. The Dynamic Resource Allocation Controller (DRAC) seamlessly interfaces with the intelligent StarPlane implementation middleware architecture that mediates with the computing grid to signal and configure the 10 Gbps lightpaths dynamically.
As well as SURFnet, Nortel Adaptive All Optical Intelligent solutions power several of the world's largest research networks including Internet2 in the USA, CANARIE in Canada, and VERNet in Australia. Nortel optical solutions are also deployed in more than 1000 customer networks worldwide.
SURFnet** operates and innovates the national research network, which connects some 180 institutions in higher education and research in The Netherlands. The organization is among the leading research network operators in the world. To serve the SURFnet users with their growing demand for high-quality network connections, SURFnet continuously translates the latest technology into new and better communication services.
StarPlane** is a research project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research** (NWO) that studies application-specific management of optical networks. StarPlane is a collaboration between Nortel, SURFnet and groups at the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam.
About the University of Amsterdam
The System and Network Engineering** (SNE) Research Group at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) researches cross-domain interaction between Grid resource providers, optical and hybrid networking, resource descriptions using semantic web and programmable networks for the Future Internet. In collaboration with SURFnet and SARA, UvA has capabilities to access high-speed optical test bed installations in the optical photonic backbone of SURFnet in the Netherlands and internationally in the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF). SARA and UvA collaborate in the creation, maintenance and utilization of a state of the art Lambda Grid experimentation laboratory named LightHouse, which is very well connected to NetherLight. UvA is a founding member and key contributor to CineGrid, GLIF and OGF.
About the VU University Amsterdam
The high performance distributed computing group**of the VU University Amsterdam conducts research on programming environments and applications for large-scale distributed systems. The group is internationally recognized for its work on Java-centric grid computing systems (Ibis and the JavaGAT) and for earlier work like the Orca parallel language, the Manta high-performance Java system, and the MagPIe library.The group also plays a key role in the "Distributed ASCI Supercomputer" (DAS) project and in the VL-e (Virtual Laboratory for e-Science) project. The group is part of the Computer Systems section at the VU, which has a long-standing tradition in systems research and is renowned for its work on Amoeba, Minix, Globe, and several other systems.
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