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Internet2 Azure Express Route Service

Posted By David Marble, Thursday, March 1, 2018


Reprinted from a guest blog post at Internet2


OSHEAN, Rhode Island’s Research and Education Network (REN), is participating with Internet2 on a Proof of Concept (POC) for cloud connectivity aligning with the overall community effort to explore next generation network infrastructure. This particular POC initially focuses on the consumption model for Microsoft Azure but it is accepted that the general model will apply to other cloud providers. In my request to Internet2 for a trial, I posited that the Regionals and Internet2 play an important role in providing simplified yet robust access to the major cloud providers and that the complexities of the network infrastructure needed for cloud services are often underestimated by our members.  The role we play in simplifying, managing and even automating the configurations for network connectivity for cloud payloads is highly valuable and has proven to be an important component of OSHEAN’s current cloud offerings.

OSHEAN was the first member to take advantage of Internet2’s recent announcement of the availability of Microsoft Azure Direct Connect peering in Ashburn, VA.  With the help of Internet2 and Northern Crossroads (NoX) engineers, our network engineers were able to implement a Layer2 payload service through OSHEAN’s infrastructure and across Internet2’s AL2S service to the ExpressRoute service in Ashburn VA.  OSHEAN also established a Layer3 connection as well for comparative purpose.  We intend to compare the technical and business ability to support payloads through the R&E community versus traditional commercial methods.  It is OSHEAN’s hypothesis that the answers will show better control, performance, security, resilience and visibility of cloud payloads while lowering cost profiles for connections.  OSHEAN is currently moving to the phase of the testing whereby its PoC member partner, Brown University, will start to evaluate using this connection method for selected enterprise applications.


A second component of the PoC will introduce a technology vendor to implement SDN technology over the Internet2 backbone for Azure Express Route connectivity.  OSHEAN envisions an adaptation of SD-WAN techniques to be a potentially valuable tool to help automate and manage cloud connections. We believe that, as the technical nuances and true economics of cloud migration become better understood, members will start to send application payloads to a variety of cloud services depending on the individual technical and business considerations of the application itself.  SD-WAN, applied in a consistent method across our peering choices, will simplify/automate configuration, increase security and increase management visibility for all our members. Stay tuned!

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