Archived Press Releases
The Global StarLight Software Defined Networking Exchange (SDX): A Novel Advanced International Communications Facility
Chicago, IL — March 26, 2015
A five-year grant to develop an international Software Defined Networking Exchange (SDX) at the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility was announced this week at the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) Technical Working Group biannual meeting in Washington DC, co-located with the Open Grid Forum, the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) Engineering Conference (GEC 22), and the US Ignite Applications Summit — “Beyond Today’s Internet: Experiencing a Smart Future.” A consortium of universities received funding to design, develop, and operate the StarLight SDX from the National Science Foundation (NSF) International Research Network Connections (IRNC) program.
The StarLight SDX, located in Chicago, is part of an international effort to interconnect research and education networks that support Software Defined Networking (SDN), an innovative architecture that enables application communities, scientists, and engineers to directly program their networks to meet their precise requirements. SDN enables direct control over the network paths and attributes, which is an especially important capability for supporting extremely large scientific data flows. SDNs are proliferating, however, almost all are single domain oriented; SDXs will ensure that multiple SDN domains can interoperate. SDXs also provide enhanced visibility into individual data streams at exchanges and control over those streams. SDXs can also be customized to support the specific workflows of domain science research.
The StarLight SDX, together with other SDXs worldwide, will support continued research, development, experimental deployment, and trials of multi-domain SDXs, and it will serve as an innovation platform on which to introduce next-generation services, architectures, policies, processes, and technologies. More specifically, the StarLight SDX will focus on three main activities: (1) development of the StarAX (StarLight Advanced eXchange) Innovation Engine, an SDN Development Environment that will enable facilities around the world to provide multiple network functions and features quickly and reliably, and to deploy SDXs that are compatible and interoperable with others, (2) deployment of an instance of this system at the StarLight Facility, and (3) providing coordination and assistance to others around the world to deploy such systems at their exchange points. This innovative exchange facility will be able to support a wide range of new international services and capabilities for global research and education.
Led by the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University, the consortium includes the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Qualcomm Institute division of Calit2 (Calit2-QI) at UC San Diego. The consortium also includes many international SDX partners, all of whom are founding members of the GLIF, which organized this week’s GLIF Technical Workshop. GLIF participants are National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), consortia and institutions involved in advanced optical networking and research, and are engaged in creating and exploring prototypes of multiple, innovative communication services and technologies.
The StarLight SDX initiative also builds on the efforts of early GENI projects, including a GENI SDX exchange and the International GENI (iGENI) initiative, which developed a unique distributed SDN/OpenFlow global infrastructure that supports research and development for next-generation network communication services and technologies.
About the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR)