Pushing the Boundaries of Powerful Networks at SC18

By James Mustarde

We’ve all experienced the wired and wireless network services provided by tradeshow and conference venues around the world. Aside from the astronomical rental costs and typical Wi-Fi clutter, the services provided by venues to exhibitors and attendees are usually very basic and are not intended to allow users to push the boundaries of computer applications and experiments. If only all networks were like the one built and operated by SCinet for the 2018 Supercomputing Conference (SC18).

Developed to deliver network services for the duration of SC18, SCinet included a multi-terabit Faucet installation that was considered by many to be the fastest and most powerful network in the world. Allied Telesis was proud to be a part of that network, contributing extremely high-performing OpenFlow 1.3-certified 100G chassis and modular switches as part of the multi-vendor exhibitor hall network. A few months earlier, we participated in the equally advanced FAUCET/Umbrella network at the Interop Tokyo event in Japan.

SCinet has been pushing innovation since the early 1990s, with the goal of supporting the often revolutionary advancements in technology that are a hallmark of the SC conference. For over 30 years, Allied Telesis has worked aggressively to move new technologies and capabilities out of the R&D laboratory and making them widely available to the mainstream market at affordable prices. The emergence of SDN and multi-vendor protocols and controllers such as OpenFlow and FAUCET is the latest chapter in the evolution of data networking, and we’re proud to have a leading role.

SC18 was a great success, attended by over 10,000 tech-smart folks who took advantage of the many talks, panels and tutorials to learn more about current and emerging technologies that will further enhance our ability to analyze data and make groundbreaking discoveries that will benefit humanity. The SCinet network played a critical role, demonstrating seamless multi-vendor interoperability that gives academia, research establishments and other data-centric organizations the choice and flexibility to work with many vendors simultaneously.

According to Angela Nash, Chief Information and Operating Officer at the Research and Education Advanced Network of New Zealand (REANNZ), SCinet proved beyond a doubt that the multi-vendor SDN network was ready for prime time.

“Not only is this proof of the ability to scale Faucet but is also the first production multi-vendor 100G SDN network and hybrid P4/OpenFlow.” she said. “That's impressive stuff!”