At last week’s Internet2 annual meeting, I sat down with 50 or so other research university CIOs to discuss how 100 gigabit networking will affect us.
If Internet2’s projections are correct, one hundred US universities will be interconnected at 100 Gbps by the end of next year. If past trends are any indication, that sort of adoption rate will mean rapid advances and changes in the way things get done.
Out of that hundred, only three are in Ohio right now.
If we are going to catch and ride the 100 gig wave, universities in Ohio will have to consider multiple dimensions – not only 100 gigabit capacity, but also software defined networking (SDN) and protected research channels (DMX). These three components will be critical to getting full value out of any ultra fast research network.
With ultra-high network capacity, shared services like storage, computing capacity, and visualization become much more practical, but only if participants can agree on some level of standardization.
Right now, every network vendor has their own emerging version of SDN. To encourage collaboration, the Internet2 community should establish a preferred, open SDN standard for vendors and institutions to follow. This would not preclude the use of other, proprietary communication protocols, but it would make it easier for institutions who wish to collaborate to do so.
The conversation ended with recognition that CIOs need to engage their faculty and research leadership in planning this advanced network strategy. Ohio University's faculty researchers have the knowledge and the track record to play a lead role in these discussions. We can show the way.
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