During the Super Computing 2013 (SC13) conference November 18-21, an international team of high energy physicists, computer scientists, and network engineers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Victoria (UVic), and the University of Michigan , Vanderbilt and the University of São Paulo performed a number of different demonstrations using a variety of next generation network equipment and servers.
This year UVic with its partners BCNet and CANARIE focused on a demonstration of Intercontinental OpenFlow tested spanning Victoria – Denver – San Paulo – Chicago – New York – Amsterdam – CERN (in Geneva) as shown in Figure 1. The Western most node of the Canadian Software Defined Network testbed at UVic was connected with a 10G link leveraging the Internet 2 Advanced Layer 2 Services (AL2S) switch in Seattle. Two diverse paths were carried over Internet 2 terminating on two separate switches on the Super Computing show floor. Physics data was transferred over this network using OpenFlow link layer multipath switching to efficiently utilize the multiple network paths to form a loop free topology. The multipath utilization is completely transparent to the end hosts of the network and accomplished using the Caltech developed OLiMPS OpenFlow controller that resided at CERN in Switzerland. This methodology allows an automated in-network load balancing of various flows to rise the network utilization and efficiency. Moreover, multiple network links to be arbitrarily added to a network to increase capacity and redundancy without the traditional challenges of Layer 2 link aggregation using LACP.
During the demonstration we were able to establish perfectly balanced network traffic across the multiple links of the testbed in a configuration that would normally cause a network loop. Figure 2 shows the results of transferring files from a single machine located on the show floor in Denver.