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OVERVIEW

Attention SC|05 Exhibitors!

To request a SCinet network connection or to manage your SCinet account, please visit: http://scinet.supercomp.org/.

For network service offerings and policies please visit: http://sc05.supercomputing.org/exhibits/man-SCinet.php.

SCinet is the collection of high-performance networks built to support the annual International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking and Storage (SC). The SC Conference Series is co-sponsored by ACM SIGARCH and the IEEE Computer Society. SCinet features a high-performance production-quality network, an Open InfiniBand (OpenIB) Network and an extremely high performance experimental network, Xnet.

Volunteers from educational institutions, high-performance computing centers, network equipment vendors, US National Laboratories, research institutions, research networks, and telecommunication carriers work together to design and deliver the SCinet networks. Industry vendors and carriers donate much of the equipment and services needed to build the LAN and WAN infrastructure. Planning begins more than a year in advance of each SC conference and culminates with a high-intensity installation just seven days before the conference begins.

SCinet is providing direct wide area connectivity to many national and worldwide networks through peering relationships with principle networks. Aggregate WAN transport delivered to the industry and research exhibitors is expected to exceed 400 billion bits/second (Gbps) for SC|05.

Network Performance Monitoring

The SCinet architecture incorporates a number of features that support network monitoring. Monitoring will be used both to watch the internal network for operational purposes and to characterize the high-performance network applications that traverse SCinet, in particular for the Bandwidth Challenge.

Fine-grained monitoring on the network is particularly challenging because of the large number of high-speed links that are brought to the show floor. At the time of this writing, approximately 40 to 45 10 Gbps links will arrive on the SC|05 show floor, with 15 to 18 10 Gbps links to be used simultaneously by some Bandwidth Challenge participants.

Utilization and errors for all external links and all major SCinet internal links will be monitored for operational purposes.

Active techniques will be used to monitor reachability over the external links and latency to key sites. One-way delay testing will be done with OWAMP technology developed by Internet2® and partially funded by NSF. Throughput tests will use BWCTL, developed by Internet2, as well as Iperf, developed by NCSA and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of the NSF-funded Network Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR) Distributed Application Support Team.

Internet2, in conjunction with SCinet, will provide a "weather map" showing current utilization on all SCinet external links, based on the technology used for the Abilene NOC weather map, and developed by the Abilene NOC at Indiana University.

The Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT), is a web based tool (available at http://ndt.sc05.org/ during the show) that allows SC|05 users to self-test their end systems and the "last mile" network infrastructure. It detects common infrastructure problems (e.g., duplex mismatch condition) and common performance problems (e.g., incorrect TCP buffer size). The NDT is currently being developed by Internet2, with additional funding from Cisco, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Library of Medicine.

Spirent Communications will provide Adtech AX/4000s to passively monitor wide area connections and collect statistics. These statistics will include total aggregate traffic counts on each of the connections and total instantaneous traffic counts for use in judging the Bandwidth Challenge. Code developed by both Spirent's Advanced Test Program and the San Diego Supercomputer Center will visualize the AX/4000 statistics.

Flow data (e.g., sFlow, NetFlow, cflow) will be collected from routers and switches. This data will be analyzed and visualized with software from InMon Corporation. This will provide detailed real-time information which users and applications are consuming the bandwidth. The information will be used for assessing the Bandwidth Challenge and network operations.

Network Security

The design characteristics that define the SCinet production networks include high bandwidth, low latency, resiliency, and scalability. SCinet peers with the Internet, Agency, and National wide area networks through a series of very high-speed connections. To maximize performance across these interfaces, there are no firewalls. In this regard, the SCinet network is a logical, albeit temporary, extension of the open Internet. Exhibitors and attendees are reminded that, in this potentially hostile environment, network security is a collective responsibility.

Exhibitors who use insecure communication methods are exposing their networks and systems to compromise. The use of insecure applications including TELNET and FTP is strongly discouraged. These applications are subject to compromise because they send passwords to remote hosts in human readable, clear text format. Attendees are strongly encouraged to protect their sessions through a mechanism such as Secure Shell (SSH), where all communication is encrypted. SSH implementations are available for little or no cost and are straightforward to install and use. Each attendee is responsible for ensuring that their communications sessions are protected in accordance with their security requirements.

All IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g wireless networks, including those provided by SCinet, are vulnerable by their very nature. The ease of use that makes them attractive is the same feature that is most easily exploited. Wireless networks are open to unauthorized monitoring or snooping by anyone within range of an access point.

SCinet will monitor traffic on most external network connections as part of routine network performance monitoring activities. In addition, SCinet has a restricted capability to monitor Exhibit floor, wireless network and external network traffic for evidence of security-related activity including compromise or abuse. However, by no means should this coverage be considered a substitute for safe security practices. Please do your part by being cognizant of network security risks and protecting your systems and sessions.

OpenIB Services

SC|05 is the introductory conference for SCinet to offer an InfiniBand infrastructure which will include hardware from many of leading vendors in the IB industry together with the OpenIB software and supporting services.  This combination will provide a powerful infrastructure for exhibitors to experience the advantages InfiniBand delivers for: clustered computing, peer-to-peer processing, high performance access to native InfiniBand storage resources in StorCloud, long distance connectivity ranging from booth to booth within the convention center to a Wide Area Network (WAN) across the continental US to California (LLNL) and Virginia (NRL).

InfiniBand architecture is a very high performance, low latency interconnect technology based on an industry-standard  An InfiniBand fabric is built from hardware and software that is configured, monitored and operated to deliver a variety of services to users and applications.  Characteristics of the technology that differentiate it from comparative interconnects such as Ethernet  include:  end-to-end reliable delivery, scalable bandwidths from 10 to 60 Gb/s available today moving to 120 Gb/s in the near future, extremely low latency between devices (less than 1.5 microseconds demonstrated), greatly reduced server CPU utilization for protocol processing (3-5% versus 80-90% for TCP/IP based fabrics), scalability without performance degradation, and efficient I/O channel architecture for network and storage virtualizations.

The OpenIB Alliance (http://www.openib.org/) is an international organization comprised of industry, academic and research groups that have developed a unified core of open source software stacks for the Linux and Windows operating systems to support the InfiniBand technology. Members of the Alliance intend that the core OpenIB stack support industry standard protocols. OpenIB will allow suppliers of InfiniBand solutions (including switches, host channel adapters, storage systems and gateways to Ethernet and Fibre Channel) to offer this software as a common base for their value-add hardware and software features.  

Wireless Network Services

In collaboration with Trapeze Networks, SCinet will deploy IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b and IEEE 802.11g wireless networks within the Washington State Convention and Trade Center (WSCTC). These wireless networks are part of the production SCinet network, providing access to the Internet, and many other national and agency networks. The wireless network will be provided on the exhibit floor, in the Education Program areas, the ballroom and meeting rooms, and in many common areas within the WSCTC.

SCinet provides the wireless networks for use by all exhibitors and attendees at no charge. Known wireless network limitations, such as areas of reduced signal strength, limited client capacity, or other coverage difficulties may be experienced within certain areas with the center. Please watch for additional signage at appropriate locations throughout the WSCTC.

Network settings including IP and DNS addresses for wireless clients are automatically provided by SCinet via DHCP. Laptops and other wireless devices configured to request network configuration information via DHCP receive this information automatically upon entering the SCinet wireless coverage area. Wireless devices must conform to the IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11g standards. Please refer to http://www.weca.net/ for more information.

SCinet will monitor the health of the wireless networks and maintain this information for exhibitors and attendees. The wireless networks are governed by the SCinet Service Level Policy and the SCinet Wireless Service Policy posted at: http://sc05.supercomputing.org/exhibits/man-SCinet.php. In summary, while every practical effort shall be made to provide stable reliable network services, there is no explicit service level agreement for any SCinet network, including the wireless networks, nor are there any remedies available in the event that network services are lost.

In order to provide the most robust wireless service possible, SCinet must control the entire 2.4GHz and 5.2GHz frequency radio spectrum (2.412GHz-2.462GHz) and (5.15GHz to 5.35GHz) within the WSCTC. This has important implications for both exhibitors and attendees:

  • Exhibitors and attendees may not operate their own IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, or 802.11g wireless Ethernet access points anywhere within the WSCTC, including within their own booth.
  • Wireless clients may not operate in ad-hoc or peer-to-peer mode due to the potential for interference with other wireless clients.
  • Exhibitors and attendees may not operate 2.4GHz or 5.2GHz cordless phones.
  • Exhibitors and attendees may not operate 2.4GHz wireless video or security cameras, or any other equipment transmitting in the 2.4GHz or 5.2GHz spectrum.
SCinet wants you to have a successful, pleasant experience at SC|05. This should include the ability to sit down with your wireless-equipped laptop or PDA and check e-mail or surf the Web from anywhere in the wireless coverage areas. Please help us achieve this goal by not operating equipment that will interfere with other users. SCinet will actively police both the 2.4GHz and 5.2GHz frequency spectrums and reserves the right to disconnect any equipment that interferes with the SCinet wireless networks.

Remember that the SCinet wireless network is a best effort network. If you are running demonstrations in your booth that require high availability network access, we advise exhibitors to order a physical network connection.

Xnet

Xnet (eXtreme Net) provides a venue to showcase bleeding-edge, developmental networking technologies and experimental networking applications.

The SCinet Exhibit floor network has evolved into a robust, high-performance, production-quality network that exhibitors and attendees depend on for reliable local area, wide area, and commodity network service. Consequently, it has become increasingly difficult for SCinet to showcase bleeding edge, potentially fragile technology. Simultaneously, OEMs have at times been reticent about showcasing bleeding-edge hardware in SCinet, as it became a mission critical, production network.

Xnet provides the solution to this dichotomy by providing a venue which is by definition bleeding-edge, pre-standard, and in which fragility is understood. Xnet thus provides vendors and research exhibitors an opportunity to showcase emerging network gear or capabilities, prior to their general commercial availability.

Xnet debuted in Portland, OR at SC99, where Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology was used in the implementation of OC-48 SONET rings on the conference show floor. At SC2000, Xnet demonstrated pre-production and early delivery 10-Gigabit Ethernet equipment connecting several exhibit floor booths. The SC2001 Xnet expanded the deployment of 10 Gigabit Ethernet using equipment from several vendors and using 10 Gigabit Ethernet in several Bandwidth Challenge applications. In Baltimore at SC2002, with 10 Gigabit Ethernet a commodity and the telecom industry focused on survival, Xnet took a sabbatical. 2003 provided opportunities to explore early next-generation optical switching technologies and consider special purpose optical network testbeds. In 2004, Xnet returned with a focus on advanced optical switching and new transport technologies. Please refer to materials available at the time of the conference for information about Xnet for 2005.

Service Level Policy

The Network Committee, SCinet, provides commodity Internet, research, and experimental networks for use by the exhibitors and attendees. While every practical effort shall be made to provide stable and reliable network service on each network, there is no explicit service level agreement for any SCinet network, nor are there any remedies available in the event that network services are lost.

To examine the full SCinet Service Level Policy visit: http://sc05.supercomputing.org/exhibits/man-SCinet.php

SCinet provides a series of networks each year for use by the exhibitors and attendees. Each network can be broadly categorized as Commodity Internet, Research, or Xnet infrastructure. In addition, there are significant peering relationships among these networks that allow them to communicate.

Commodity Internet networks include the high bandwidth connection from the convention center to one or more Internet Service Providers and both wired and wireless networks that connect the exhibit halls, meeting rooms, ballrooms, mail rooms, and other common areas to the Internet. The commodity network includes support for 50+ rooms within the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, including connections to more than 100 systems used by the Education Program, Registration, Stores, SC Global & SC Desktop broadcasts, and network access for the Hands-On Tutorial Programs.

Research networks include very high bandwidth connections to National and Agency networks. Coupled with the extensive peering relationships that these networks have with other research networks worldwide, SCinet can engineer connectivity to virtually any public IP address in the world. Access to these networks is limited to exhibitors with network connections to the SCinet core.

Xnet networks are typically experimental and often fragile. These networks connect small numbers of devices using equipment that is pre-production, pre-standard, or research oriented. In most cases, Xnet networks do not peer with other networks to reduce potential network volatility.

Questions: scinet@sc05.supercomputing.org