High Energy Physics (HEP) experiments have greatly benefited from a strong relationship with Research and Education (REN) network providers and thanks to the projects such as LHCOPN/LHCONE and REN contributions, have enjoyed significant capacities and high performance networks for some time. Network providers have been able to continually expand their capacities to over-provision the networks relative to the experiments needs and were thus able to cope with the recent rapid growth of the traffic between sites, both in terms of achievable peak transfer rates as well as in total amount of data transferred.
There are reasons to believe that the network situation will change due to both technological and non-technological reasons starting already in the next few years. Other data-intensive sciences will join with data scales similar to LHC, which will impact not only R&E providers, but also the way end-users are currently utilising the network. In the new multi-science high throughput environment, network provisioning, design and operations will need to evolve to better share and organise the available resources. Apart from the network capacity, other network capabilities will become important as they will offer a way to better organise and more effectively use the available network resources.
As the scale and complexity of the current networks grow rapidly, new technologies and platforms are being introduced that greatly extend the capabilities of today’s networks. With many of these technologies becoming available, it’s important to understand how we can design, test and develop systems that could enter existing production workflows while at the same time changing something as fundamental as the network that all sites and experiments rely upon. In this talk we’ll provide a high level summary of the white paper produced by the HEPiX NFV Working Group, providing an overview of the current software defined networking landscape, including areas such as cloud native networking, existing and planned projects in the area of programmable networks, smartNICs and related technologies as well as an overview of the mid-term plans of the core R&E network providers.
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