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The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)

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Summary:The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-performance, unclassified network built to support scientific research.
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ESnet - A Platform for Science Discovery.
The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-performance, unclassified network built to support scientific research. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science (SC) and managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ESnet provides services to more than 40 DOE research sites, including the entire National Laboratory system, its supercomputing facilities, and its major scientific instruments. ESnet also connects to 140 research and commercial networks, permitting DOE-funded scientists to productively collaborate with partners around the world.

ESnet provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at national laboratories, universities, and other research institutions, enabling them to collaborate on some of the world's most important scientific challenges including energy, climate science, and the origins of the universe. Funded by the DOE Office of Science, ESnet is managed and operated by the Scientific Networking Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As a nationwide infrastructure and DOE User Facility, ESnet provides scientists with access to unique DOE research facilities and computing resources.

ESnet has a strong ethos of leadership in networking innovation. Our team is constantly improving the services to create a more versatile and robust network to serve the emerging needs of scientific researchers. We work closely with the international technical community to develop open-source software and collaborative technical projects. Our programs, as well as our collaborations with other research and education networks around the world, demonstrate our commitment to push network research forward so we will be able to anticipate and flawlessly serve the needs of DOE scientists.

As computational tools such as simulation and visualization become more fine-tuned and sophisticated, they also require the processing and management of greater amounts of data. The sheer volume of data generated by international scientific collaborations and the increasingly distributed nature of large data flows, as well as the development of real time cloud computing, is creating a staggering volume of network traffic. Since 1990, ESnet's average traffic has grown by a factor of 10 every 47 months. This growth trend is only accelerating as international scientific collaborations such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), and International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), generate and exchange massive amounts of data. ESnet provides a scalable and efficient network infrastructure that enables scientists to optimize their resources and conduct ambitious, world-class research.

ESnet is supervised by the Office of Science, which oversees 10 national laboratories that carry out the missions of its science programs, as well as underwrites research and development projects conducted at additional laboratories overseen by other DOE offices.

The national laboratory system, created over a half-century ago, represents the most comprehensive research system of its kind in the world. National laboratories perform research that is not well suited to university or the private sector because of its scope, infrastructure, or multidisciplinary nature, but for which there is a strong public and national purpose. This is why ESnet exists--to provide the specialized kind of networking services required by multidisciplinary teams of scientists as they collaborate in distributed experiments using world-class scientific equipment, supercomputers, and facilities.

In short, ESnet's Mission is

To enable and accelerate scientific discovery by delivering unparalleled network infrastructure, capabilities, and tools.
And ESnet's Vision is summarized by these three points.

Scientific progress will be completely unconstrained by the physical location of instruments, people, computational resources, or data.
Collaborations at every scale, in every domain, will have the information and tools they need to achieve maximum benefit fro m scientific facilities, global networks, and emerging network capabilities.
ESnet will foster the partnerships and pioneer the technologies necessary to ensure that these transformations occur.

A Robust Network for Next-Gen Science

Spurred by the growth of large international collaborations in high energy physics, climate science, and genomics, the research community’s needs to manage and transfer large quantities of data are exploding in scope and complexity. Currently ESnet carries around 20 petabytes of data monthly. The level of traffic over the ESnet network has increased an average of 10 times every 4 years, propelled by the rising tide of data produced by more powerful supercomputers, global collaborations that can involve thousands of researchers, and specialized facilities like the Large Hadron Collider and digital sky surveys. It’s expected that ESnet will need to carry over 100 petabytes of data per month by 2016.

See the Difference that 100 Gbps Can Make

Compare the resolution of these two models of the early stages of the Universe. Approximately 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe was almost homogenous—meaning that every location in the cosmos was similar. Today, this is no longer the case. The modern Universe is rich in structures that include galaxies; clusters of gravitationally bound galaxies; galaxy super-structures called "walls" that span hundreds of millions of light-years; and the relatively empty spaces between superstructures, called voids. All the while, the Universe has been expanding, and in recent epochs the expansion rate has been accelerating. This simulation starts fro m a nearly homogeneous Universe and reproduces the observable properties of today’s objects. Researchers are using this data to understand how the Universe has changed over billions of years.

The Fifth Generation of ESnet

In 2009, ESnet received $62 million in American Research and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding fro m the Department of Energy Office of Science to invest in its next-generation infrastructure to provide the necessary support for research discovery in this new era of data-intensive science. After three years of planning and deployment, ESnet5 – ESnet’s fifth generation network – launched in November 2012. The network was built in collaboration with Internet2, an advanced network, which connects the nation’s research universities. Leveraging its Recovery Act grant fro m the Department of Commerce, Internet2 and ESnet pooled its stimulus resources together to deploy a massive 8.8 Terabit network built using Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform which the two organizations will equally share to serve their respective communities. To create the routing platform, ESnet deployed the Alcatel-Lucent 7750 Service Router. The new network provides an immediate tenfold increase in bandwidth to DOE research sites at the same cost as providing 10G connections – with the ability to now scale to 44 times the current capacity.

A 100Gbps Reconfigurable Testbed

In addition to its production ESnet5 network, ESnet has also created a national-scale network testbed, available to researchers and industry for experiments with new network technologies, protocols, and applications at 100 Gbps. The testbed supports research including multi-layer multi-domain hybrid networks, network protocols, component testing for future capabilities, protection and recovery, automatic classification of large bulk data flows, high-throughput middleware and applications, and as well as other innovative networking experiments. ESnet accepts new proposals to use the testbed every six months.

Dark Fiber Testbed

ESnet purchased almost 13,000 miles of dark fiber fro m a commercial carrier for DOE use. By creating a research testbed and lighting the dark fiber with optical gear, ESnet will enable network researchers to safely experiment with disruptive techologies that will make up the next generation Internet in a production-like environment at 100 Gbps speeds.
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