AAC Digest

CEO’s Report December 2015

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Chris Hancock CEO AARNet

2015 has been another busy and productive year for AARNet. We’ve seen many new customers connected and network builds completed. We’ve also continued to focus our attention on developing ‘above the network’ services to meet the increasingly data-intensive, collaborative and global needs of Australia’s research and education sector.

We wish you and your families a happy and safe festive season and look forward to working with you in 2016.

Chris Hancock CEO AARNet

 

NETWORK PERFORMANCE AND TRAFFIC REPORT

AARNet Traffic Report Jan-Oct 2015

 

 

 

 

 

ENTERPRISE SERVICES

The Enterprise Services’ team has secured and is delivering twenty nine assignments this year of which nineteen directly assist AARNet shareholders. A wide variety of consulting services have been delivered to the sector this year, examples include:

  • The successful migration of new customers to AARNet or from AARNet3 to AARNet4, involved in the design, configuration and implementation of new services to both single and multiple campuses.
  • The review, design, supplier selection and project management of an off-site data centre solution
  • Independent reviews of University Research Storage Requirements and University Research Management systems, gathering best practice and reviewing the market.
  • A security review of NeCTAR “Open Stack” Cloud services across all nodes, to assess technology, process and people and risk appetite to ensure solutions proposed are relevant and likely to be implemented.
  • Cisco Unified Communications reviews with the broader use of personal and room based collaboration solutions to simplify and streamline interoperability across multiple platforms and give due consideration for the scheduling of rooms, technologies and local support for learning and teaching and research collaborations.
  • Business Continuity and IT Disaster Recovery plan reviews, opportunities to review structure, content and test plans with walk through scenarios.
  • Security reviews of processes and technology against best practice, to determine an independent security posture score that universities can baseline and track over time.
  • Network Blueprint reviews and designs for multiple campuses, gathering key university business stakeholder expectations and current network audit data to deliver new network solutions through technical workshops Access to Independent technical experts “on demand” to participate in panels on new campus wired and wireless network tender exercises and assisting with technical support.

Enterprise Services has also completed complementary consulting work in network architecture, unified communications reviews and ITDR reviews and independent security reviews, these provide value to the sector, allow the team to understand and refine our service offerings and generate credibility and pre-sales opportunities.

PRODUCT SOLUTIONS

CloudStor continues to grow with 15,000 active users, storing a total of 21,000 files or 50 Terabytes of data. AARNet mirror holds an additional 45,000 files and 33 Terabytes. Shared group functionality has been enabled – with a portal to administer group membership. This portal will be integrated into the CloudStor user administration section to enable delegated administration of groups by nominating a group administrator.

Further innovation of CloudStor has included the piloting of the EOS filesystem and Open Cloud Mesh with CERN to replicate large data sets over global distances. This is an important step forward in being able to integrate data intensive instruments and facilities into the CloudStor environment.

Zoom growth continues with approximately 700,000 meeting participant minutes per month and this is expected to grow further in the new year with the recent addition of several new site licences. There are now 32 organisations with Zoom subscriptions through AARNet, including 4 site licences.

AARNet is continuing to develop cloud-connect offerings to enable easier connections between customers and third party service providers.

FUTURE NETWORK PLANNING

AARNet continues to make progress in the area of “SDN” – Software Defined Networking. SDN is an emerging new technology, focused on teasing apart the data forwarding function of a piece of network equipment from its path calculation function, taking advantage of commodity network hardware for the former and cheap virtualised compute for the latter. The aim is to provide greater network flexibility at a lower cost.

The implementation of the AARNet SDN testbed is almost complete. The Sydney and Melbourne switches are in production, with the Seattle and Perth switches deployed and currently being integrated into the testbed. The testbed was officially launched on December 14 at the Open Networking Foundation SDN Down Under symposium in Sydney, which AARNet sponsored.

AARNet4

Migration to AARNet4 is well underway with 63% of shareholders at various stages in the pipeline and CSU, UNSW, Newcastle, USQ, VU, UWA, CDU, UniSA, Monash, CSIRO, SCU, Adelaide and CQU already connected.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

IDG is working on over 200 projects delivering some 650 individual services. Nearing completion are the National Research Network Sunshine Backbone and Fortitude Valley to Kelvin Grove via the Royal Brisbane Hospital projects and the NAUDIT Sydney Basin Network project.

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

The change of Prime Minister has brought an overall “lifting of the mood” within the Canberra bureaucracy, and this is certainly reflected in the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The Attorney Generals Department has advised that AARNet’s Data Retention Implementation Plan (DRIP) has been approved without amendment. The major capability AARNet needs to implement to achieve full compliance is to encrypt the metadata that is being collected. An internal development project to meet this requirement is well progressed, and it is anticipated that it will be completed well before the nominated target implementation date of 30 June 2016.

eRESEARCH

The Department of Education has initiated the eResearch Framework project, to be directed by Dr Rhys Francis, to “identify current and emerging eResearch requirements of the research sector into the next decade and what technologies, in a broad sense, might meet those needs”. This is an important input to the expert group to be chaired by Australia’s new Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, which will be established in 2016 to identify where funding is required in future years to support identified national research infrastructure capabilities.

The establishment of the expert working group is just one component of the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) announced on 7th December, which also included ten year funding commitments to

  • Continue the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) – $1.5B,
  • Operate the Australia Synchrotron – $520M, and
  • Australia’s commitment to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

The eResearch team continues to explore options to increase the research-relevance of the CloudStor platform, and is exploring development opportunities with both Melbourne University (as a host of the NeCTAR Research Cloud), and Intersect. AARNet has also sought to partner with the Research Data Service (RDS) Nodes in their proposals to secure funds as part of the RDS Moving Big Data Flagship scheme. Both QCIF and NCI have indicated they would like to take up AARNet’s co-investment offers should their proposal be accepted.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS

Customer Relations Group attended the spring meeting of the Council of Australian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT). With a majority of our Shareholder customers attending this meeting it was a valuable opportunity for AARNet to engage at CIO level, including meetings and briefings with several staff new to the sector. Customer Relations also participated in the Queensland University Directors of Information Technology Technical Advisory Committee (QUDIT TAC) Cloud and Data Centre Workshop.

AARNet sponsored a representative from University of Sydney to attend the workshop and provide a customer’s perspective of AARNet’s cloud connection services to USyd. This case study was found to be extremely informative (and importantly an independent view of AARNet’s cloud capabilities) by the QUDIT TAC members.

There continues to be strong interest from Schools to connect to AARNet, and there are many in the pipeline. Catholic Education SA, which includes around 90 schools, is currently being connected to AARNet.

Engagement with Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector continues to be very strong with AARNet viewed as a natural fit for these institutions, particularly around their extensive collaborations with each other and with all levels of education.

INTERNATIONAL

In October AARNet increased capacity from Sydney to Suva from 622 Megabits/sec to 1 Gigabit/sec. The link utilisation had been steadily growing towards maximum capacity and so the upgrade was performed as a pre-emptive measure to avoid congestion and any potential performance issues to the University of the South Pacific and its satellite Pacific Island locations.

Ensuring ongoing funding for TEIN5 the 5th generation of the Trans Eurasian Information Network (TEIN) is the key priority for TEIN stakeholders for the next few months. AARNet has a strong relationship with the TEIN Cooperation Centre (TEIN*CC) and is Chair of the Governors’ Steering Committee. One of the current projects being funded out of TEIN*CC is the deployment of eduroam in some 7 beneficiary countries throughout Asia. AARNet is leading this project assisted by the NRENs of New Zealand, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Capacity from Australia to Asia remains the key international network development priority.

Internet2 has announced its partnership with the Singapore NREN (SingAREN) for 100Gbps to Guam. University of Hawaii has also announced anchor tenancy on SEA-US a new cable being built from the US to Guam and on to Hong Kong and the Philippines. Both of these projects are of interest to the TEIN community.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

AARNet continues to sponsor conferences, conventions and community events with high-speed Internet connections, the most recent examples being Museums and the Web Asia at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, e-Research Australia at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre; the Adelaide Mini Maker Faire from which the ABC broadcast live radio across the AARNet connection; and RFLAN, an on-line computer hobbyist/enthusiast event held at the Sports Stadium, Curtin University.

 


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