Singapore Advanced Research and Education Network (SingAREN) has taken the wraps off the SingAREN-Lightwave Internet Exchange (SLIX), a 100 Gigabit per second (Gbps) community network with a Brocade® MLXe-4 router at its core. SLIX delivers one hundred times more capacity than SingAREN’s previous generation of network infrastructure, providing stronger support for complex, data- and bandwidth-intensive research in areas such as genome and meteorological studies. In addition, the MLXe-4 core router provides a clear path for the use of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) in SLIX’s network.
The new network includes a dedicated dual fiber-optic ring – capable of supporting multiple 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) links – that provides a resilient backbone connecting Singapore’s key research and education sites. This opens up new possibilities as a test-bed for the Singapore research and education community, extending database mirroring services, bilateral disaster recovery, high-performance computing federation and shared services, high volume peering with content data networks, and other value-adding services.
“I am happy to announce the launch of the SLIX project with its 100 Gbps resilient backbone,” said Professor Francis Lee Bu-Sung, President of SingAREN. “SingAREN is again pushing the envelope of technology to provide high-speed connectivity and services that meet the needs of the research and education community. We see Brocade as a key technology partner to meet the challenges of building an agile, scalable, high-speed network infrastructure and Internet exchange point.”
In addition to supporting connectivity within the local research community, the SingAREN SLIX core router is a key node for international research and education networks – including APAN, GLORIAD, Internet2, and TEIN – and peers directly with Australia’s AARNet and Japan’s NII and NICT networks. According to Professor Francis Lee, the first 100 GbE international connection is likely to be made within the next year as a result of a US funding call for a 100 Gbps research network link to Asia.
Although it has a small footprint in terms of both space and power requirements, the Brocade MLXe-4 router at the heart of SLIX is a full non-stop system featuring an advanced redundant switch fabric architecture for very high availability, delivering up to 2.38 billion packets per second routing performance with 3.2 Tbps of non-blocking data capacity. It can be configured with a wide range of high-density Ethernet port modules for 1 GbE, 10 GbE, 40 GbE, and 100 GbE – giving SingAREN greater flexibility in terms of connecting to local institutions and international peers.
“The Brocade MLXe routers are often the choice for high-performance networks, and we’re very proud of the fact that one has now been deployed as the core of Southeast Asia’s most advanced research and education network,” said Adam Judd, Brocade vice president for Asia Pacific. “Apart from the outstanding, non-stop performance and flexibility, a key factor in SingAREN choosing the Brocade solution is our strong support for software-defined networking.”
According to Professor Francis Lee, SingAREN is already experimenting with the Brocade MLXe-4’s SDN capabilities, which he sees as playing a critical role in the future of SLIX. “SDN will enable the dynamic configuration of connections to deliver fast transit over ‘clean pipes’ for researchers and educators who need to transfer Big Data payloads across SingAREN and international research networks,” he said.
The Brocade MLXe-4 supports OpenFlow 1.3 – which allows programmatic control of the router by an SDN controller – in innovative Hybrid Port Mode. This approach allows simultaneous deployment of traditional switching or routing with OpenFlow on a single port, a unique capability that provides SingAREN with a pragmatic path to SDN by enabling it to integrate OpenFlow into its existing network operations.