Sixth Global R&E Network CEO Forum meets in Munich, Germany

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At its most recent meeting – held in Munich, Germany on July 15, 16, and 17, 2015- the Global Research and Education (R&E) Network CEO Forum continued a series of strategic discussions on current and future challenges facing the global R&E networking community.

In Munich, the Forum welcomed participation from the executive leader of SINET in Japan as a new entrant to the Forum, and from the newly appointed CEO of the UbuntuNet Alliance.

The meeting began with a review of Security in a R&E World with one of Europe’s renowned security experts, Prof. Klaus-Peter Kossakowski, CEO of DFN-CERT and professor at the University of Applied Science in Hamburg, Germany. The major aim of this session was to raise awareness of the challenges associated with securing R&E organizations and the R&E community while maintaining the open nature of the environment. Following the discussion, the CEOs agreed to prioritize and focus the work of the Forum’s Security Study Group to better coordinate efforts globally.

In a discussion on the future of the Forum, the CEOs defined five focus areas for NRENs, apart from high-performance data network services. These are:

  1. Security & identity,
  2. Integrated e-Infrastructure,
  3. Above the network services,
  4. Networking into the campus, and
  5. Closer engagement in the core processes of education and research.

Aiming to mutually learn and encourage global interoperability, the CEOs agreed to jointly develop a roadmap to stimulate and accelerate the global implementation and adoption of new services in these areas.

The CEOs thanked members of the Forum’s active working groups for their contributions and discussed the current challenges, progress, and output of many of the working groups, including:

  • Global Network Architecture (GNA) – The CEOs recognized the progress of the work on GNA and endorsed a generic roadmap for a set of architecture building blocks, such as layer 1 and layer 2 services, open exchange points, and Software Defined Networking. The CEOs also agreed to engage more pathfinding efforts for GNA, e.g. through capturing the lessons learned in the Advanced North Atlantic 100G (ANA) collaboration and other international R&E networking efforts currently under study or under construction. The CEOs discussed the importance of Open Exchange Points, and agreed that publishing port statistics of an Exchange is encouraged, however usage statistics on flows passing the Exchange will not be distributed for reasons of privacy and security. The CEOs committed to further engage with stakeholder groups and identified three main focus areas: funding agencies, global carriers/content providers, and research communities.
  • Global Services Delivery (GSD) – Working with global cloud providers has highlighted a number of significant challenges, e.g. aligning juridical systems, and determining the success of service uptake by the community. These lessons and challenges will be captured and disseminated by the working group.
  • Global RealTime Communications (GRTC) – The GRTC working group has progressed positively and produced a great promotional video showing the future potential of videoconferencing systems. However, the CEOs acknowledged that the market has changed significantly in the past 12 months, with many new players and that the group will look to creating a pro/con comparison of the market players. Interoperability between the various new players still remains a challenge, and the GRTC group is tasked to continue its research on solutions and to make the results available to the Global R&E community.
  • Global Federated Infrastructure, Delivery, Management & Services (GFIDMS) – Now that all R&E networks participating in the Forum have agreed to adopt eduGAIN for inter federation, the discussion has focused on global service providers connecting to eduGAIN and the use of attributes. The CEOs also decided to continue to work on use cases to further understand the non-technical aspects of interfederation.
  • Knowledge Exchange (Knowlex) – The CEOs recognized the group’s initial task to coordinate efforts to bring representatives from developing R&E networking organisations to global events, e.g. TNC and the Internet2 Global Summit. Future projects for this group include developing R&E network engineer training plans and formalizing a working group roadmap.

Additionally, the CEOs discussed how various R&E networking organizations work with cloud providers and data centre owners within their regions, focusing on efforts in Canada (DAIR from CANARIE) and the UK (Jisc, and especially Janet Reach). The discussions lead to identifying potential future collaborative initiatives between R&E networking organizations in areas such as compute, storage, security, big data, collaboration, and workflow.

The CEOs also reviewed a proposal from the Global PR Network, a group of marketing and communications professionals from R&E networking organizations around the globe, to coordinate messaging on the value and role of R&E networks. The CEOs endorsed the proposal and agreed to embark on a two-year trial with an expected launch in Q4 of 2015.

The next face-to-face meeting of the CEO Forum is scheduled to take place in South America in Q1 2016.

The Global R&E Network CEO Forum consists of the Chief Executive Officers of AARNet (Australia), CANARIE (Canada), CERNET (China), CUDI (Mexico), GÉANT Association (Europe), DFN (Germany), Internet2 (USA), NORDUnet (European Nordics), REANNZ (New Zealand), RedCLARA (Latin America), RENATER (France), RNP (Brazil), SINET (Japan), SURFnet (The Netherlands), and the UbuntuNet Alliance (Southern and Eastern Africa).

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