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Indiana University wins $3.6 million for international network operations center

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A new five-year, $3.6 million National Science Foundation grant to Indiana University calls on long-standing expertise to manage the networks that power the agency's international science and engineering research and education collaborations.

The Global Research Network Operations Center at IU or GlobalNOC, won the award to manage the network operations center for the National Science Foundation’s International Research Network Connections-funded infrastructure projects. The program supports continuous high-performance network connectivity required by today’s researchers to analyze and share vast amounts of data with colleagues around the world.

The new center will focus on proactive support and end-to-end performance assessment, taking advantage of GlobalNOC's networking monitoring toolset for comprehensive availability statistics, dashboards and operations reports. The GlobalNOC Service Desk will serve as the centralized first point of contact and communication for the international network's management, including all the backbone connections and exchange points that enable information exchange between networks.

David E. Jent, IU associate vice president of networks, is the project's principal investigator. Luke Fowler, director of software and systems for GlobalNOC, and Ronald A. Johnson, professor in the Information School at the University of Washington, are co-principal investigators.

"Through its management of several of the world’s most advanced research and education networks, the IU GlobalNOC and its team of highly talented network engineers and technicians continue to enable major developments and discoveries in science, education, engineering and the humanities. Indeed, they are shaping the future of advanced academic research," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who helped found the GlobalNOC in 1998 in his role as IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. "We are extremely pleased to receive this generous grant, and we look forward to helping the National Science Foundation better connect our nation’s top researchers with colleagues, knowledge and information all across the globe."

From service desk operations and network engineering to software and systems, the staff of IU’s GlobalNOC today work to ensure the reliability, performance and advanced capabilities for more than 20 projects. Their know-how is vast and long-standing.

"The GlobalNOC has nearly 20 years of experience managing some of the most powerful research and education networks in the world—from Internet2 to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's science network, N-Wave—and we plan to capitalize on this expertise as we move forward with the IRNC project," said Jent. "Thanks to this new NOC, the National Science Foundation will have its first-ever snapshot of the entirety of its IRNC program: Who's using it, what the usage levels are like, how it works—and that’s exciting to us."

With this new visibility, National Science Foundation leaders can make informed decisions about future growth of International Research Network Connections, improve network troubleshooting and quickly and effectively solve end-user issues. To directly address end-user issues and involvement, the grant includes two important components:

  • The end-to-end Performance Engagement Team will serve as a central point of contact focused on solving performance issues that span multiple networks. In addition to investigating individual reports of performance problems, this team will work with partner networks to define and implement a framework and common process for performance troubleshooting and measurement.
  • The International Research Network Connections Network Operations Center Advisory Council, chaired by Johnson, will include members from each of the International Research Network Connection's backbone, exchange point and measurement projects. These representatives will guide interaction to ensure consistent operational practices across the international network's programs.

"This award is a large expansion of international networking responsibility for IU’s GlobalNOC and many partners," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. "This award is the third, multi-million dollar international networking award to IU in 2015 with over $13 million in total. It affirms the competitive excellence of the almost 100 networking engineering staff at IU."

IRNC Networking Partners include:

Jennifer Schopf (TransPAC)
Julio Ibarra (AMPATH)
David Lassner (TransLight/Pacific Wave)
Ronald Johnson (TransLight/Pacific Wave)

U.S. National Networking Partners include:

David Lambert (Internet2)
Kim Milford (REN-ISAC)
Louis Fox (CENIC)
Joe Mambretti (MREN/StarLight)
Jerry Janssen (NOAA)
Lauren Rotman (ESnet)

International Networking Partners include:

Dae Young KIM (APAN)
Byung Kyu Kim (TEIN*CC)

About the Global Research Network Operations Center
The Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC) at Indiana University is the premier operations and engineering organization supporting advanced international, national, regional and local high-performance research and education networks including  Internet2, NOAA, and Indiana’s own I-Light

GlobalNOC plays a major role in transforming the face of digital science, research and education in Indiana, the US, and the world by providing unparalleled network operations and engineering needed for reliable and cost-effective access to specialized facilities for research and education.