CC-NIE Network Infrastructure: Using Software-Defined Networking to Facilitate Data Transfer

  • Awarding Agency: National Science Foundation
  • Amount: $496,563
  • Grant Dates: 1/1/13 – 12/31/14
  • PI: Tracy Futhey
  • co-PI: John Board

Duke University is enhancing the capabilities of its data network to better support data-intensive research. By deploying a mix of next-generation software-defined networking (SDN) hardware along with enhanced high-speed conventional networking links, Duke creates on-demand high speed paths either through Duke’s own network (connecting resources in different parts of campus) or directly from campus laboratories to external networks. In both cases these dynamically managed links can bypass layers of network management which, while sensible for routine traffic, add latency and limit speed for trusted high volume science flows.

As Duke’s core network is already fast and agile, the emphasis in this work is on improving network capability over the last few meters through local building switches and directly to the instrument or computer sourcing or sinking the data. Faster networking to the devices coupled with intelligent (SDN-mediated) routing at the building level of specific scientific data flows via “short-cut” paths through the core is expected to result in higher overall performance.