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NCSA upgrading research network capacity

As part of the Blue Waters project, NCSA is substantially upgrading its networking capacity, giving researchers across the country the ability to move data more quickly than ever before. The center will have four 100-gigabit research connections when the work is completed in summer 2015:

  • Internet2, which connects to 260 universities, 65 government agencies, 40 regional and state education networks, and more institutions across the country. The network for the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment project (XSEDEnet) is built on Internet2, so this network is used heavily by researchers who use both Blue Waters and XSEDE resources. These researchers will now have even greater ability to move data from the smaller-scale XSEDE resources to Blue Waters.
  • MREN (the Metropolitan Research and Education Network) is used by many members of the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation, which allocates up to 2 percent of Blue Waters annually. The MREN connection will also provide connectivity to international networks, and NCSA can peer with ESnet via that link.
  • CARNE (the Campus Advanced Research Network Environment) is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Science DMZ network; it is configured and optimized for high-volume bulk data transfer, remote experiment control, and data visualization for high-performance science applications. Also accessible via CARNE is CIC OmniPoP, which connects the members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation—the 13 Big Ten universities, and the University of Chicago.
  • A fourth 100-gigabit connection is TBD.

“We believe this will make NCSA the most connected supercomputing center in the world,” said Tim Boerner, leader of NCSA’s networking team. “Researchers who previously were constrained by data transfer difficulties can now think big—they can move their data, and move it quickly, in order to advance and accelerate their research.”

NCSA is upgrading the full path from the Blue Waters system to the wide area network, which will enable single flow data rates greater than 10Gb/sec.

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