The EELA Grid will use the research networks of Latin America and Europe to connect all the entities that are involved in the project (computing elements, storage elements, middleware, applications, end-users, etc). The purpose of the Network Support and Operations activity (Task 2.4) is to ensure that EELA has access to appropriate networking services provided in Latin America by CLARA / Latin-American-NRENs (National Research and Education Networks), and in Europe by GÉANT / EU-NRENs.
CLARA, the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks, is a non-profit organization, recognized in 2003 as an International Civil Association under Uruguayan law, and accepts as members the NRENs of Latin America and the Caribbean - LANRENs.
Currently CLARA has 14 members, from the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The RedCLARA network, set up through the ALICE Project -coordinated by DANTE-, is administered by CLARA, using manpower ceded by CLARA members. In this Task (the Network Support), the activities undertaken by CLARA will be carried out using manpower of some of the LA-NRENs, members of CLARA.
The purpose of the Network Support activities is to ensure that new network services, distinct from the traditional best-effort IP service based on over-provisioned network capacity, are introduced to meet the requirements for production-level EELA Pilot Testbed network, based on user and operational needs, assessed in collaboration with CLARA and the relevant LA-NRENs by the Technical Network Liaison Committee (LA-TNLC). This Committee will need to liaise with the similar body created by the EGEE project, or directly with European network operators, such as the relevant NRENs of the European partner countries (Italy, Portugal and Spain), or DANTE.
Such services may comprise established connections between specific end-points at various layers of the network, reservations with guaranteed bandwidth and other QoS (Quality of Service) parameters (latency, jitter, etc), and even scavenger services at less-than-best-efforts that guarantee to complete a transfer within a specified time window, e.g. overnight, despite according any part of the transfer a low level of priority. A portfolio of such services can meet the diverse requirements of a Grid serving a variety of user communities, while making efficient use of the network infrastructure.
It should be noted that previous IST projects, especially GÉANT, GÉANT2 and EGEE, have dedicated time and attention to the definition of other than best-effort services, including such alternatives as Premium IP (PIP) and Less than Best Effort (LBE) services, which are currently available on GÉANT although not yet available on most European NRENs. In order to support end-to-end provision of service quality, it will be necessary for such services to be provided in all segments of the connection path. Network Support is directed to provide such services for the Pilot Grid involving institutions in Spain and Brazil, and will thus require such provisioning in the networks operated by CLARA, RED.ES and RNP.
Additionally, this Task activities will include the preparation of recommendations for facilitating network-supported personal communication and collaboration in real time between participants in the Project, through such means as VoIP and videoconferencing technologies.