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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The network as a service - why bandwidth on demand is not enough

[Inder Monga, Guy Roberts and Tomohiro Kudoh recently gave an excellent presentation at the Terena conference on abstracting network functionalities as services
, much in the same way that clouds abstract computing as a service.  In the presentation as described by ESnet blog they “discussed the motivation, concepts and architecture in the upcoming Open Grid Forum standard that has the promise to enable researchers simple abstract constructs to dynamically create and manage their communication infrastructure to serve their science. During the talk he explained some of the differentiating attributes of the protocol: Recursive and flexible request and response framework, abstraction of physical topology into a service layer representation—and declared that composable services are the next logical step in network design. The key to dealing with complex infrastructure is to abstract it into objects the users can understand, but that is just the beginning. A composable services model contains essential elements like abstracted technical requirements in a language that all users can understand, failsafe backups, service changes that are transparent, transport efficiency and monitoring for “soft” failures. He pointed out that a Topology Service would be the next target for standardization once the Connection Service was fully specified.”

Abstracting the network as a service in combination with Open LightPath Exchanges will allow virtual organizations or communities of interest to deploy their own networks to meet their specific science requirements.  The notion of building networks around geographic based NRENs I suspect will disappear as clouds are slowly displacing the idea of geographic based high performance computing. Abstracting the network as  service also underpins building green network such as the Greenstar initiative.

The EU Mantychore is another project in a similar vein of abstract routing and IP functonality as a service.  The Internet 2 OS3E project is along a similar vein of software defined networks.  And of course the grand daddy of them all is the CANARIE UCLP project which used web services and web services workflow to compose network topology and services – BSA]

ESnet blog


Internet 2 OS3E


Open Lightpath Exchanges

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