ESnet builds 400G network

Google Fiber's got nothing on ESnet

The Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) have built a 400 gigabit/sec super-channel, the first-ever 400G production link to be deployed by a national research and education network.

The connection will provide critical support for NERSC’s 6,000 users as the facility moves from its current location in Oakland, Calif. to the main campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley over the next year. The 400 gigabit/sec link will continue to support users as systems are temporarily taken out of service so they can be moved into the computing center at Berkeley Lab.

Traffic on the network has increased dramatically over the last decade, propelled by the rise of data produced by supercomputers, global collaborations that involve thousands of researchers and specialized facilities like the Large Hadron Collider.

ESnet currently operates a 100G backbone network connecting DOE sites and universities, but the growth in data is threatening to oversaturate that capacity, especially as supercomputers approach exascale capabilities. It is expected that ESnet will need to carry more than 60 petabytes of data per month by 2016.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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