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Follow OSHEAN's CEO, Dave Marble, as he discusses the trends and hot topics affecting OSHEAN's membership.

 

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Internet2 Series, Part 3: SDN

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Several of our discussions turned to the significant progress that has been made in the area of Software Defined Networks (SDN) over the last couple years.  I was in a session which demonstrated an OpenFlow controller that was used to call up a wavelength on-demand, and move a VM to a new server in a different location without disruption to any traffic.  The project was completed by students and faculty at Marist College, in cooperation with the optical vendor Adva.  The results of the project, which are very impressive, indicate a shift in the technology that moves it out of its "science project stage”.  I believe we still have a way to go before it becomes truly useful in multi-vendor and multi-provider environments, but you have to go through this stage to get there.  I foresee that some of the barriers to widespread use will not be technical at all, but rather, will revolve around policy and the interaction of departments, divisions, institutions, and enterprises.  By definition, SDN is a control plane, and it’s not clear to me where, or with whom, that control will lie in many use cases.

Tags:  broadband rhode island  Internet2  OpenFlow controller  OSHEAN  sdn  software defined networks 

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Internet2 Series, Part 2: Data Preservation

Posted By David Marble, Thursday, April 24, 2014
Updated: Thursday, April 24, 2014

I was intrigued by a “Future of the University” discussion, which postured that the University now has three fundamental responsibilities: education, research, and—surprisingly—data preservation. The discussion centered around the fact that as we move further and further to the Internet of Things and all things digital we may now be entering an era where universities become required by moral obligation to be the preservationists of a vast portion of the world’s digital knowledge base.  The quote was, “If not us, then who?”  Because I had also been attending sessions on Big Data, and I2’s Innovation Platform, it was easy to see how apt this was.  Universities and the R&E community have embarked on a historic construction of an infrastructure that will be the ground floor of one incredible knowledge center.  It is not the amount of data that intrigues me most, it’s the complexities involved in preserving that data for generations to come.  We have all seen computer languages come and go.  For this task of preservation we need languages that will live on forever to enable, for example, the search engine of the future to comb databases of the past.


The keynote for this session was Dr. Shirley Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).  To say that she was impressive is an understatement.  Dr. Jackson is a theoretical physicist and former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and serves on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.  Her grasp on the deepest technical aspects of a wide swath of science was impressive on its own, but her ability to connect it to the human condition was something else entirely.  She described a project at RPI to make Lake George in NY the “smartest” lake in the world. To achieve this, scientists have created a massive sensor overlay to analyze in real time an enormous range of conditions.  The breadth of knowledge gained from this one project cannot be underestimated.


One of the other themes of this talk was the concept of breaking down the walls between research disciplines.  What we are finding out more and more are the interdependencies and links between branches of science heretofore unknown. This is classically revealed in biotechnology, where computer science and biology are becoming increasingly connected, but this concept extends all over.  One of the barriers recognized is the need for better communications as we tend to have our own way of relating to each other within the walls of a given research discipline.



Tags:  broadband rhode island  future of the university  internet of things  internet2  lake george  oshean 

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Internet 2 Series, Part 1: Trust and Identity

Posted By David Marble, Monday, April 21, 2014
One of the major themes running throughout the 2014 Internet2 Global Summit wasTrust and Identity.  Major initiatives are underway with Internet2 members to develop a framework architecture for a global identity and trust infrastructure. This follows on the work that has been done by the I2 community with InCommon, but now is expanded to include areas like MultiFactor Authentication (MFA). 

While I applaud this effort, I'm a bit jaded. Is the OSHEAN community interested in Federated ID?  Are we interested in having trust relationships between members?  To date, I have not seen a compelling use case that hasn't already been handled.  I thought, for instance, that the hospital community and medical schools might be candidates, but have been told that credentials are already handled among the institutions.  I have not heard of a push for a unified student credentialing system for K-12 in RI, yet I see pilots taking place around the country.

The length of time it has taken to make progress in this area also fills me with trepidation. I think back to the early days when Microsoft was championing single sign-onthe days of the birth of Federated ID.  I don’t know about you, but I have seen very few instances of even the basic single sign-on other than logging into a website with my Facebook or Google ID.

I do see great potential for this in federated clouds.  The use of a Federated ID and authentication schema for accessing an organized multi-cloud resource pool could prove invaluable.  To that end, Internet2 has mandated the implementation of InCommon amongst its partners in the Net+ Cloud Services program.

Overall I am interested in learning how our members feel about this area, and if there is a sense that we should be getting more aggressive in examining potential architectures.

Tags:  broadband rhode island  federated id  incommon  internet2  MultiFactor Authentication  oshean 

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What is a REN?

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
When I am asked about who OSHEAN is, the conversation often starts with a definition of a Research and Education Network (REN) and a companion discussion of Internet2. Internet2 was formed in 1996 by 34 universities who understood that the network and computing needs of research and education communities had to be handled by a non-profit consortium dedicated to their needs. This concept evolved over time, leading to the development of the nationwide 100Gbps backbone in place at Internet2 today and building the regional partner networks that OSHEAN is a member of today. There are 31 regionals like OSHEAN who participate in a national coalition called the Quilt. Take a look at the Quilt site and the work being done in the different states to get a sense of the community to which OSHEAN belongs.

This week I am attending the Quilt Winter Meetings in San Diego. Each of the regional RENs have slightly different models but all are non-profits built to serve what are referred to as Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs). CAIs are universities, K-12s, libraries, and healthcare government, and other non-profit institutions. Internet2 and the REN community represent the best of the best of those dedicated to the advancement of network and compute platforms for the research, education, and public service communities. This is part of a national agenda further buffeted by the recent completion of the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grants awarded to OSHEAN, Internet2 and many of the R&E members of the Quilt. This week we will be sharing best practices, developing new service models, and discussing our role in advocacy at the national level. The Quilt recently participated in a series of meetings with the FCC, who is currently engaged in the development of E-Rate 2.0—the technology funding model for the K-12 and Library communities. Just this past week, the FCC announced a platform to nearly double the amount of money available to schools and libraries to upgrade technology.

Tags:  broadband rhode island  E-Rate  FCC  Internet2  RENs  Research and education networks  The Quilt 

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