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Investigation into current and future requirements of researchers using research & education networks Study carried out by the Academia Europaea and the.

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Presentation on theme: "Investigation into current and future requirements of researchers using research & education networks Study carried out by the Academia Europaea and the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Investigation into current and future requirements of researchers using research & education networks Study carried out by the Academia Europaea and the European Science Foundation SERENATE work item i: User Needs

2 The report on User Needs will be based on two inputs: 1.The replies to a widely distributed questionnaire 2.The presentations and discussions in the SERENATE Workshop for end-users of research networks (Montpellier, 17-19 January 2003)

3 The Questionnaire About 4000 researchers were invited to answer the questions in a Web-based questionnaire About 500 replies received: –Physics 95 –Chemistry 40 –Technology 45 –Life and earth sciences 56 –Medical 110 –Social sciences 67 –Humanities 37

4 The Questionnaire some highlights (1) 43% say they are not (yet) using high- bandwidth networks, 57% say they are using high-bandwidth networks –Of the latter group, 48% mention accessing distant databases, 15% mention distant processing e.g. at supercomputers 37% transfer only rather small files ( 100 MB)

5 The Questionnaire some highlights (2) What would be the most important network development for your research in the next 3, 5 and 10 years? –41%: more bandwidth, removal of bandwidth bottlenecks –5%: improved access of resources (e.g. from countries with less than average access –13%: Grid computing –11%: larger or more distributed databases –8%: videoconferencing, use of distributed video material –5%: virtual working / virtual laboratories –5%: remote modelling, real-time visualisation

6 The Questionnaire some highlights (3) What would the impact be to your research if network speeds were increased by one or two orders of magnitude (say, international connections at 10 or 100 Gb/s? –1%: negative impact (less time to think) –15%: “I have no idea” –24%: no major impact –45%: positive effects, namely: Remote working with collaborators: 8% Remote or distributed computing: 7% Videoconferencing: 4% Accessing databases or moving data: 3% Remote control of equipment: 2%

7 The Questionnaire some highlights (4) Is your use of the research network currently limited by the international connections, the national network, the regional/metropolitan network or the campus network? –43%: there are no serious bottlenecks –15%: there are bottlenecks but I don’t know where –23%: the bottlenecks are in the campus network –7%: the bottlenecks are in the regional/metro network –11%: the bottlenecks are at the national level –13%: the bottlenecks are at the international level

8 The Questionnaire some highlights (5) Who should be paying for research and education networks and how? –91%: there should be no charging at the point of use: 12%: the government or EU should pay 5%: the university/institution should pay 74%: no further comment “networking should be free, just like water and electricity” –9%: there should be some form of charging: 4%: according to use 2%: as part of research grants 2%: only heavy users should be charged

9 David Williams CERN, also President TERENA SERENATE End-users Workshop, Montpellier 19 January 2003 End-users Workshop Conclusions WORKING DRAFT!!

10 Introduction Despite the very high quality of the attendees we were disappointed by the size of the attendance at this workshop But the quality of the presentations and discussions from those that did make the journey made the effort worthwhile.

11 Overall The workshop wishes to acknowledge the strong progress that has been made during the past five years, leading to a rather reasonable environment for R&E networking in many parts of Europe While there are many reasons to be grateful (to governments and to the many different organisations involved in funding and providing these services) we absolutely cannot be complacent. The situation in several areas of Europe is far from satisfactory, and arguably getting worse, and overall developments in the networking field are so rapid that very strong efforts are required to maintain services in a healthy situation

12 Three key components The workshop recognises that satisfactory network performance for the end-user depends on a healthy infrastructure in three areas:- –On the campus –Nationally –Internationally Unless indicated otherwise, in this report the word “infrastructure” should be understood in a broad sense – not just cabling and transmission capacity but also all software and services needed to provide the services required by the end user

13 Campus-related issues There is serious evidence that for many European researchers the major source of network performance limitations is their local campus.

14 The NREN model The workshop recognises that the NREN model - that one NREN is necessary and sufficient for each (European) country - has served well and remains appropriate

15 The European REN model In the final session of the workshop we were asked to address the extent to which a model of multiple interconnected NRENs would still be optimal in ~10 years time. Would it not be better to envisage, at some point in time, a move to a single, ubiquitous,European REN? Because of time pressure we agreed to return to this topic in later workshops. Issues that might complicate such an approach include the national political, funding and regulatory regimes, and local languages. It was also pointed out that there may be some concerns related to scaling, and that the structure of the network tends to be inherently tiered. It was suggested that the correct approach is probably to examine the functionality required at the various levels of the network, and a study along that line will be prepared by SERENATE.

16 Growth in requirements The workshop was very impressed by the evidence for the growing “requirements” of all areas of research It is clear that these “requirements” will continue to grow dramatically, over the next 5-10 years, IN ALL DISCIPLINES and IN ALL COUNTRIES

17 The move to services The workshop noted that user expectations have evolved beyond the provision of pure bandwidth towards the supply of more complex services, and that it is important that NRENs take this evolution into account Some examples of required services are given in the following slides

18 Authentication services and good remote access The workshop takes note of the move towards authentication (and related) services, commonly referred to as AAA services Since end-users increasingly require good access wherever they may be (especially from home and while on missions) the workshop looks forward to the deployment of a set of AAA services, compatible across Europe (and, more generally, on a global basis). It also encourages NRENs (and campuses) to provide good broadband remote access One good example of the benefits of such an approach could come when universities having paid (sometimes very significant prices) to provide closely controlled licensed access to specific data resources for their staff, are able make them available remotely to those staff without infringing the terms of their license.

19 End-to-end service If an end-user experiences unexpectedly poor performance while making international data transfers it is normally hard for him/her to understand the reasons, and to initiate corrective action. One major complication for the user is the fact that five separate organisations are typically responsible for different components of any international data transfer. The workshop would like to see the NRENs (and DANTE) cooperate to put in place a service which, when triggered by the user, would determine whether the performance obtained was indeed worse than normal, and, if so, take responsibility for correcting the situation.

20 Flexibility The workshop noted with great interest the present experiments being conducted by GÉANT, by several national networks, and by the radio-astronomy community, to combine the signals from several European radio telescopes. The workshop feels that this example, which fundamentally incorporates the networks’ long distance optical fibres into a new scientific instrument, is a very good and successful demonstration of the need for NRENs to be attentive to user requests and to adopt a flexible approach to service provision. The first ideas of the atmospheric physics community to more- or-less continually monitor lightning production on a global basis form another example in the area of data acquisition. However, the request for flexibility is not related to just communications hardware – it refers to all NREN services

21 Enhanced services and the relation between NRENs and the R&E community The workshop notes that the trend towards the provision of enhanced services (rather than simply communication bandwidth) means that the NRENs will need to engage in a deeper dialogue with campuses and with their national body/ies responsible for IT infrastructure Besides AAA services (mentioned above) we discussed the extent to which NRENs should become more involved in initiatives aimed at reducing spam and protecting against viruses and hacking.

22 Education and Information Flow NRENs need to balance their approach to meeting two potentially conflicting end-user requirements –The wish to view “networking” as an always-available, highly reliable and easily understood service, tending over time to simply increase in performance and decrease in cost – “networking should be invisible” –The need to be informed about changes in network technology and services since they can have an important impact on the way in which research is carried out The workshop felt that NRENs should increase the flow of information, including road-maps of likely future service developments, to their end-user communities, and make more educational material available. The workshop also felt that in addition NRENs should devote more resources to listening to their end-users, and actively engage in dialogue with them.

23 Scientific communities and IT services People thinking about the broad introduction of grid services over the next 5- 10 years are aware that each scientific discipline will need some internal decision making process or structure if it is to obtain the expected benefits. Decisions will be needed, for example, in areas such as metadata definition; ontologies describing common concepts in the discipline; the “default” assumptions about the conditions under which computational or data resources may be shared; resource discovery mechanisms that are compatible across Europe. The workshop encourages the EU and others (ESF?, AE?) to think about establishing small working groups to facilitate this process at the European level. Such teams should be aware of any national work in their discipline, and be able to speak with some authority for the discipline in the European context. It such teams were formed, then their specialists on grids and networking would, in future, form the obvious invitees for any future SERENATE end- user workshop.

24 User influence on NRENs The workshop discussed the ways in which end-users can and should influence their NREN organisations As stated previously, there is a recognition that the NRENs are generally operating efficiently and effectively, and end users do not feel a strong need for more “control” over their NREN organisations However, as also discussed above, there is a belief that the NRENs would do well to better inform and consult their end- users. The general feeling of the meeting was that a better “feed-back loop” should be constructed.

25 Closing the gap (1/3) There is very clear evidence that we are very far away from “equality of networking opportunities” for researchers from all countries in the European Research Area. There is a widely held view that the relative situation (for example, the bandwidth available to researchers in the economically weakest countries compared to that available to researchers in the economically strongest countries) is still degrading There is good evidence from our survey that researchers all over the ERA wish to do similar work, and that the resources of researchers in the economically weaker countries of Europe represent an intellectual force which is being seriously under- utilised because of poor computer networking infrastructure

26 Closing the gap (2/3) Computer networking and grids are all about improving human communication and resource sharing The workshop feels strongly that the provision of good IT infrastructures – including networking and grids – is one important factor among several which can influence the migration of high quality researchers. One important outcome of the SERENATE project must be to draw the dramatic nature of this gap – Europe’s internal “Digital Divide” – to the attention of politicians The workshop notes that regulatory liberalisation in the EU-15 played a major role in reducing prices and improving services, and we have to insist that the elimination of telecoms monopolies, and the very rapid introduction of effective competition among several operators, will be crucial factors if this gap is to be eliminated in the next say 5 years. However, any attempt to implement “equal opportunities” across the ERA in the next ~5 years will depend on strong political commitment, and spending significant sums of money. Can we estimate how much money would be needed to have a significant impact?.

27 Closing the gap (3/3) The workshop suggest that the annual reports being produced for the accession countries should be required to specifically address the extent to which their R&E network has been brought up to EU levels. In order to demonstrate the size of the gap, and to monitor its evolution and, hopefully, its eventual disappearance, we recommend that the EU should commission a project to provide monitoring data for end-user performance to and from a selection of universities and research centres in the countries involved and in the EU-15 for comparison. Examples of the sort of data that we have in mind can be found via

28 Unexpected gaps While we think of most of the EU-15 countries as well-connected, workshop participants mentioned that there can still be some expected problems with certain R&E sites. Highly specialised instruments and/or institutes which are located off- campus are often poorly connected. While we heard of some dramatic examples of this effect close to major cities, the situation tends to be worst in very rural or mountainous locations, or on islands. The situation is highlighted when wanting to connect to such specialised sites with high-performance high-reliability links – for instance as part of a grid infrastructure.

29 Communities beyond research and tertiary education? (1/5) SERENATE has been asked to look at how communities related to those of the traditional NREN communities (which we can define as publicly-funded research and tertiary education) could be served. This is a complex issue, and it is hard to imagine a uniform pan-European approach. The most that we can do is probably to indicate some general principles which may (or may not) be applicable in a given country. We start by reiterating the reasons to have an NREN in the first place –R&E computer networking requires a specialised infrastructure (not just hardware) for collaboration among researchers, and this infrastructure is not available as a “standard service” from commercial providers –The community is tolerant of experimental services at the leading edge –The last ~20 years have shown strong economic benefits resulting from using the community as a motor for change

30 Communities beyond … (2/5) Different ways to connect Three possible approaches for handling the NREN connectivity requirements of new communities (shorthand for groups of users who do not obviously fall into the classic NREN communities of publicly- funded research institutes and post-18 education) are:- –Direct connection to the NREN –Connection to a dedicated network which has well- engineered connectivity to the NREN –Connection to the commodity Internet, with ist connectivity to the NREN

31 Communities beyond … (3/5) Possible methodology A possible methodology would be –to look at each possible new community and decide to what extent it meets any of the requirements bulleted above (1/5; why we have an NREN) –to determine the extent to which strong interaction between the R&E community and the new community is desirable –to consider issues of of physical size and scale – in countries like Luxembourg and Slovenia there are few universities and quite strong economies of scale in handling at least secondary education via direct connection to the NREN –to consider issues of required services and expertise – all communities need more than simple hardware connectivity –to think about applicable financial models –and come to a conclusion

32 Communities beyond … (4/5) Whatever approach is adopted in a given country it seems clear that each NREN will have to pay more attention to its interconnection technology, services and infrastructure for supporting these “related communities” We have to recognise that the choice (does community X have direct connection to the NREN –yes or no) may be hard to make. There will always be grey areas, and to some extent this is an issue for national taste Basically we need to ensure that all communities wishing for good connectivity to the core NREN community are able to interface effectively to it.

33 Communities beyond … (5/5) Examples of communities that are “interested” (in many countries) and for which decisions need to be made include:- 24*7 access for researchers and post-18 students Schools (at all levels) Musea, Archives, Memory-preservation Hospitals/Healthcare Ministries Libraries SMEs in science parks SMEs in arts and creative industries (Berlin cf London)

34 Charging SERENATE recognises that there is no free lunch. Networks do cost money There is a strong reluctance to charge for “standard” use at the point of delivery. Basic research networking is a common good. Some people feel that it might be acceptable (maybe even desirable?) for specialised heavy (de Laat Class C) users or any others with special network needs) to be able to contribute to funding for those special needs. No clear consensus emerged at the workshop on this last idea. As a minimum such “advanced use extra contribution” should only be introduced when the situation is well understood and stable– both the financial issues and the fact that the technology works. Up-front charging introduced too soon is a good way to stifle progress and advanced applications. For many disciplines the network will become part of the “computer” in the future

35 Things the NRENs should also do (1/2) Develop (in conjunction with academic community) split of tasks between NRENs, any “national grid organisations” and campuses. –Authorisation (AAA) - compatible across Europe –Anti-hacking, Anti-spam –Better understanding of standard copyright and related legal issues, including DB access rules. Make policies more obvious to end-users. Update “user charters” –Possibly lobby (politically) against NRENs being held responsible for the content that they transport? –Develop and reinforce best-practice use (what is this supposed to cover?)

36 Things the NRENs should also do (2/2) Encourage a slightly more formal organisation of research disciplines in their approach to IT infrastructure. Would be useful both nationally and on a pan-European basis Topics to be considered could include:- –development of metadata standards –and discipline ontologies –evolution of networking requirements –definition of default resource (data, CPU, etc) sharing policies for grids


38 Technology The main point is that greater deployment of optical networking seems inevitable. This will provide several opportunities –Support for mixed functionality (all-to-all “conventional access” for Class A and B users) and more dedicated links for Grid-like and VPN-like (Class C) users Present tests to optimise single TCP/IP flows towards 1 Gbps end-to-end looks as though they will lead to production deployment over the next ~12 months Need to pay a lot of attention to issues such as mobility (not so much access while in a car/train, more accessing all net facilities from any location – inside country and out) and security

39 Regulatory Issues The 1998 EU regulatory package (“Bangemann deregulation”) is in the process of being significantly modified The new regime was adopted as a set of EU Directives in 2002, and is required to be implemented nationally by July 2003 at the latest For NRENs one very important issue is whether they wish (or will be) considered as a “public” or as a “private” network. The position/choice may vary in different countries.

40 Regulatory – “Own Fibre” (1/2) Directives are – in principle – supposed to be technology neutral One detail which is not tech-neutral is that in some countries the last-mile access regulations - requiring operators with SMP (significant market power) to offer reasonable access to either public or private networks – only apply to copper infrastructure and not to fibre The Directives make it clear that NRENs can – should they so wish – install their own infrastructure, and specifically fibre So there are no telecoms regulatory barriers to NRENs physically installing their own trenches and fibre

41 Regulatory – “Own Fibre” (2/2) However, any NREN planning to do that needs to carefully investigate the local rules for RoW and construction permits. It may take some time – say 6-18 months - to organise physical installing. Longer delays should not be possible (in EU and countries aligned on EU rules). We cannot exclude that in some countries old NREN statutes would have been framed to exclude the possibility of the NREN owning infrastructure. NRENs should probably check for this. While true “own installation” can be a useful bargaining position, we imagine that most NRENs would much prefer to acquire any such fibres from (conventional or alternative) operators on a medium to long-term leasing basis. Or as a wavelength service

42 Security Issues We are increasingly expecting that Internet services needed by the R&E community are provided from remote locations, and accessible from “anywhere”. Campuses are investing significant resources to repel human and algorithmic break-in attempts Authentication and authorisation technology is starting to be deployed which is a fundamental improvement on widespread and incoherent

43 The end End-users Workshop

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