Networks and IT Security
Sciences and Exploration Directorate - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

2010 Significant Efforts

NASA and Partners Demonstrated 40- and 100-Gigabit Per Second Network Technologies at SC10

The unparalleled versatility of the high-performance net-test workstations specified and assembled by GSFC's Code 606.1/High End Computer Network (HECN) Team were very successfully demonstrated during the SC10 conference. An announcement of these demos was previously provided at HECN_SC10_Net-Demo_announce_110210.html.

As planned, the HECN workstations were used to stress-test the data flow capabilities of several new leading-edge optical transport, Ethernet switch and Internet Protocol router equipment just beginning to support 40 and 100 gigabit per second (Gbps) wire-speed rates. The stress-tests were conducted with network equipment located and prominently displayed among the Exhibit Booths of NASA, the National Center for Data Mining, NOAA and the SCinet Network Operations Center across 36 inter-booth single-mode fiber-pairs, as well as between the NASA Exhibit Booth in New Orleans and the StarLight Communications Exchange facility in Chicago across special SC10-only 80- and 100-Gbps wide area network (WAN) links provisioned respectively by the National LambdaRail and Internet2, then on to GSFC across a 40-Gbps link provisioned by the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX). Some sample results including screenshots from real-time monitoring of the data flow tests are available at SC10_HECN-demo-results_112910.pdf.

The versatility of the HECN workstations were well proven as they not only isolated problems with, and then saturated, the various 40-, 80- and 100-Gbps links with nuttcp-enabled memory-to-memory data transfers but also achieved a new high-water-mark in WAN transfers of 28.9-Gbps throughput in disk-to-disk file copying enabled by the nuttscp application.

The success of these demos is strengthening the HECN Team's relationships with its existing and new partners. For example, NOAA reps now have asked for the HECN Team's support in NOAA's extreme data flows between the GFDL and ORNL; and ESnet reps have renewed their interest in use of the HECN workstations in testing their Advanced Network Initiative's 100-Gbps Prototype Network that's soon to interconnect among NERSC in Sunnyvale, Fermi Labs in Chicago, Brookhaven in NY and ORNL in TN. Furthermore, HECN Team data flows are expected to be critical in the respective efforts of Northwestern University and the MAX as they deploy 100-Gbps networking capabilities in their regions per their independent NSF awards for those objectives.