INFN CNAF: first Italian site connected at 200 Gbps
With the connection speed of 200 Gigabits per second, CNAF, the national computing center of INFN (National Institute of Nuclear Physics), is the first site in Italy to have such a high speed connection to the global geographical network, thanks to the close collaboration with the GARR research network.
At the moment, the GARR link allows CNAF to be interconnected with the worldwide research networks and in particular with CERN in Geneva, where the LHC enormous amount of data is produced, and with the other national centers where scientific data are distributed and analyzed.
So far, we are talking about a volume of data exchanged equal to 61 PB, which made necessary an upgrade to 200 Gbps (Gigabit per second), a capacity which is over 200 thousand times higher than the average capacity of an Internet connection in Italy (according to the data presented in DESI Report 2018).
"We are proud to announce this result - said Massimo Carboni, Chief Technical Officer of GARR - because it is an important response to the challenge of the "Big Data" produced by the scientific experiments worldwide. We not only have built a strong and fast connection, but we have equipped the center with a resilient, reliable and redundant infrastructure thanks to the presence of equal capacity links on most of our backbone ".
Thanks to the duplication of the connection capacity of the GARR four main nodes located in the cities of Milan, Bologna and Rome (counting today a total capacity of 800 Gbps), GARR has a backbone with a total capacity of about 3Tbps.
At the same time, INFN increased its overall capacity for computing and managing big data by providing more than 60,000 computational power cores and about 150 PB storage of experimental data (divided between fast access systems and slow storage systems )to its scientific users, and in particular to CERN's LHC experiments.
"This is an important result for us, because the connection at 200 Gigabit per second to the national scientific computing networks allows the INFN CNAF to fully exploit internationally its computing and storage resources, thus favoring the development of models of distributed high performance computing on a global scale ", explains Stefano Zani, head of the CNAF network. "This high bandwidth - Zani says - allows CNAF an ever closer integration with CERN and places it, in terms of connectivity, at the same level of the most important American scientific computing centers, such as Fermilab and Brookhaven National Laboratory ".
Research and innovation are the leading words of this milestone, reached thanks to the GARR experimentation on " Alien Wavelengths". The technique is so called because it makes possible to transport signals on an optical platform which is different from the platform generating them. Thanks to this techniques, different devices can talk to each other and performance is maximized. The upgrade of the network was realized in a short time and with reduced costs, because the renovation of all the equipment along the infrastructure was not necessary .
The synergy between GARR and INFN does not stop here because they are already working to double the international connection to CERN in Geneva and to realize the so-called "Data Lake", ie a distributed data storage on a geographic scale where data can be "fished" regardless the place where they are processed.