By Houman Modarres, Director of Product Marketing, Networks Group
I can’t even count the times in my career when I have talked about what a high-speed, high-bandwidth network makes possible. Of course over time ‘what is possible’ has changed dramatically as the network has become exponentially faster, bigger and more powerful.
Last week at the SC11 conference in Seattle, Alcatel-Lucent and LGS Innovations (our US government arm) contributed to a network that brought 450 Gigabits per second of capacity into the Washington State Convention Center. The SCinet network is created each year to support breakthrough high performance computing demonstrations – and it is one of the best venues to see the true power of broadband and the innovation that ultra high-speed connectivity can enable.
We took part in many SCinet demonstrations leveraging our 7750 Service Router (SR) in support of our relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). They are building a nationwide 100 Gigabit per second Ethernet (100GE) network that will accommodate the tenfold increase in science data traffic volume expected over the next four years. The first phase of this network connects three of the DOE Office of Science’s leading supercomputing facilities.
A powerful demo at the ESnet booth showed visualization of the evolution of the universe using 100GE links and compared it side-by-side to the visualization that is possible using 10Gbps technology that has been the norm to date. The ability to observe the richness of the data that was simply not practical or possible before clearly demonstrates the value of 100G technology in unleashing collaboration in groundbreaking research.
Last week’s demos show what a powerful network makes possible for researchers who can leverage the power of ESnet’s advanced network infrastructure. In addition, through the ESnet 100G IP network, researchers can access data at Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute to investigate genetic causes of diseases – and look for more effective treatments. Likewise climate researchers hoping to better understand the extreme weather effects of climate variation will have access to some of the world’s largest databases to improve the accuracy of their estimates. ESnet truly does “Deliver science at 100 gigabits per second.”
I think Steve Cotter, ESnet department head, said it best in a press release we did with ESnet a few weeks ago: “Today, researchers partner in virtual collaborations spanning continents and must be able to share terabytes of data on a regular basis. An advanced, ultra high-bandwidth network is critical in this new data-intensive science age, and 100GE will provide a key enabling technology to facilitate U.S. scientific discovery.”
Science is about information and sharing. Two things a powerful network helps you do. We don’t always have such dramatic examples of the power of a network, but when we do — it makes you realize how building innovative telecommunications equipment can do its part to connect and change the world.