Last updated: January 23 2007 09:40:53
Task 2.4 Network Support and Operation  

Network Support

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.


The Task 2.4 approach in this context is mainly oriented toward four main lines, necessary for deployment of a testbed suitable for dissemination activities and application exploitation.

  • Continuous surveying and upgrading of network service offerings by RedCLARA and LANRENs, concentrating especially on extensions to the standard best-effort IP service.
  • Definition of network services through standard modelling processes
    • Submission of Services Level requests by end users and applications, specifying such requirements as bandwidth allocation, real time metrics, VPN. This will be developed in partnership with Tasks of WP3 (Grid Enhanced Applications) and Task 2.3 (Computing Resources)
    • Definition of Service Level Specifications (SLS) to be implemented by CLARA and the LA-NRENs within Latin America and also by GÉANT in Europe, as adopted by EGEE/SA2 (Network Resource Provision).
    • Service specifications to be formalized by Service Level Agreements (SLA) between partners (VO, CLARA, DANTE, LA-NRENs).
  • A study of operational procedures at Network Operation Centre (NOCs) in CLARA and selected LA-NRENs for an incremental integration with EELA Grid Operation Centres (GOCs). Task 2.4, in connection with Task 2.1, will be involved in the definition of interfaces and the implementation of these procedures.
  • Introduction of the means for exercise of quality control of network services, by means of performance monitoring of network traffic and applications. The network monitoring information will be made available to the GOC in order to be used for job scheduling, support and operational decisions.

Task 2.4 will manage the relationship between EELA and the network providers, through a formal liaison body (Technical Network Liaison Committee). The objective of the ALICE Project, a consortium of 18 LA-NRENs and CLARA led by DANTE as the coordinating partner, is to provide a high bandwidth network, RedCLARA, which offers guaranteed performance and virtual private network capability to groups of end users. Some activities will be undertaken in common by Task 2.4 and several IST projects in Europe, in order to go beyond existing best-effort IP service to meet the needs of a production level grid network. The projects include EGEE, especially the two activities, SA2 and JRA4, and also the Joint Research Programme of GÉANT2 (JRA1/GN2).
The work to be done is:

  • Installation of the Technical Network Liaison Committee (LA-TNLC) and its links to the EGEE/SA2/TNLC and European network operators.

  • Survey of Service Level Requirements of user applications.

  • Continuing survey of LA-NRENs and RedCLARA capacity and functional characteristics.

  • Feasibility study of new network service offerings of interest to the user community (IPv6, Multicast, Differentiation Services, MPLS, guaranteed bandwidth services).

  • Introduction of new network service offerings by selected networks, in order to support pilot grid projects.

  • Definition of SLS (Service Level Specification) for individual application requests.

  • Monitoring of network performance (including end to end performance).

  • Quality control of network and application performance.

  • Definition, acceptance and auditing of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between participating networks.

  • Production of recommendations for extending the scope of new network services.

  • Assist dissemination activities by implementing needed network configurations interconnecting the pilot testbed to the activity site.


These are:

  • Provision of widespread and coordinated support for network services beyond the current best-effort, unicast IPv4 service within the CLARA community of LA-NRENs, with grid applications as a “first adopter”. The exact details of which better than best-effort services will be provisioned will be determined as an early result (Deliverable D2.4.1.1) of WP2, and such services will first be introduced to provide support for the pilot grid, involving the networks operated by CLARA, and RNP.

  • Quality control of network and application performance made available to the end-user application through the provision of a user-available performance monitoring service.

  • Improved collaboration between different LA-NRENs and EU-NRENs in support of demanding transcontinental distributed computing applications.