May 2005
The Cyberinfrastructure Backplane: The Jump to Light Speed
Linda Winkler, Argonne National Lab

National 10G Resources

National Lamba Rail (NLR) Inc is a consortium of leading U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies "lighting" a national networking infrastructure to foster the concurrent advancement of networking research. Simultaneously, NLR will enable the next generation of network-based applications in science, engineering and medicine.2

NLR is the first national scale network to deploy transcontinental circuits based upon ubiquitous Ethernet technology end-to-end. The use of 10G LAN PHY standards-based facilities in NLR represents a generational shift in the nature, usability and cost of technologies in long-haul circuits. This is a powerful capability that enables the allocation of affordable, independent, dedicated, deterministic ultra-high performance network services for research projects.

Marking a new era in control over and accessibility to national-scale optical networking capabilities for the U.S. research community, the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has acquired a dedicated 10G LAN PHY circuit on the NLR infrastructure from Chicago to San Diego via Seattle. The 3,200-mile wavelength, known as the CAVEwave, will initially support the National Science Foundation-funded OptIPuter project shared between UIC and the University of California, San Diego.

“CAVEwave provides researchers with a deterministic network, with guaranteed bandwidth, schedulable times and known latency characteristics, in order to understand requirements for the real-time visualization, analysis and correlation of terabytes and petabytes of data from multiple storage sites,” explained EVL director Tom DeFanti. “All this bandwidth, supplements our existing network infrastructure, for less than the cost of a 32-node cluster at each end!”

The OptIPuter3, so named for its use of Optical networking, Internet Protocol, computer storage, processing and visualization technologies, is an envisioned infrastructure that will tightly couple computational resources over parallel optical networks using the IP communication mechanism. The OptIPuter exploits a new world in which the central architectural element is optical networking, not computers - creating “supernetworks”. This paradigm shift requires large-scale applications-driven, system experiments and a broad multidisciplinary team to understand and develop innovative solutions for a “LambdaGrid” world. The goal of this new architecture is to enable scientists who are generating terabytes and petabytes of data to interactively visualize, analyze, and correlate their data from multiple storage sites connected to optical networks.

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Reference this article
Winkler, L. "Does 10G Ethernet Measure Up?" CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 2, May 2005. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2005/05/does-10g-ethernet-measure-up/

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