The network upgrades support the university's research initiatives and contributions to the Internet2 Innovation Platform, a nationwide high-performance Internet backbone. With these upgrades, the University of Florida is improving access to the HiPerGator supercomputer, Florida's most powerful supercomputer that aids in positioning local and worldwide researchers at the forefront of their fields, including particle physics and medical research.
"All high-energy physics researchers in the southeast United States use the University of Florida's network as a resource and all of the data flows through Brocade routers", stated Erik Deumens, Ph.D., Director of Research Computing at the University of Florida. "The 100 GbE Brocade MLXe routers enable us to keep up with demands and are also what the campus needed to develop a clear technology roadmap supportive of software-defined networking (SDN)."
In the newly opened data centre, the University of Florida consolidated three primary Campus Research Network (CRN) sites to two, resulting in a 200 GbE triangle configuration connection between the two sites and the gateway to Internet2.
"The research projects being conducted by the University of Florida and other educational institutions place more focus on the network, making it a critical lifeline due to the massive amounts of data shared worldwide", stated Jason Nolet, vice president, Data Center Networking at Brocade. "The university's deployment of the Brocade MLXe 100 GbE solution provides it with the necessary bandwidth to support its research and the opportunity to focus on a near-term and long-term roadmap that supports SDN and Big Data."
Residing next to the Brocade MLXe routers, the HiPerGator supercomputer provides 200 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) of aggregate bandwidth to the Internet2 Innovation Platform. Among the common uses of the enhanced connection is high-energy physics research from the likes of Fermilab and CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Faculty, students and researchers gain high-speed access to the Brocade MLXe routers and supercomputer through low-latency, high-performance Brocade ICX 6650 Switches.
The University of Florida is already seeing success with the updated network. Earlier this year the university won an $8 million federal award for supercomputing research. The award was for multiscale particle flow simulation. The infrastructure investments it made in HPC, including the Brocade networking equipment, were a key part of obtaining the award. "We wanted to keep the network cutting-edge from a usage perspective", stated Erik Deumens. "We were looking for a strong and robust roadmap for SDN support, and Brocade fit that need. And to top things off, this was the most cost-effective solution for our design."
The 100 GbE network that Brocade supports is instrumental in providing opportunities for research, but it's also an important asset to promote when the university is recruiting talented students and faculty. "It's important for people to know they can come to a university where certain things just work", stated Erik Deumens.
In addition to the 100 GbE network, the University of Florida is participating in an early field trial of the recently announced Brocade MLXe 40 GbE module and connecting the Brocade MLXe Core Routers with high-density Brocade ICX 6650 Switches that provide 40/10 GbE performance. The resulting solution positions the university as a leading example of a campus deploying an SDN-ready 100 GbE network core with 40 GbE connectivity to the aggregation layer.