ESnet & NEC Demo OSCARS and OpenFlow for End-to-End Network Virtualization at Summer 2011 ESCC/Internet2 Joint Techs

July 11, 2011

Media Contacts: 

John Wise, NEC Corporation of America, (214) 262-6384,

Jon Bashor, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, (510) 486-5849,

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA-- ESnet’s Inder Monga and Dr. Samrat Ganguly of NEC Corporation of America (NEC) showed powerful and elegant new techniques for laboratories, universities, and industry to integrate end-to-end network virtualization across both the local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) at the Summer 2011 ESCC/Internet2 Joint Techs conference. In their demo “OpenFlow with OSCARS: Bridging the gap between campus, data centers and the WAN,” Monga and Ganguly combined OpenFlow and On-Demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System (OSCARS) as centralized controller technologies with NEC ProgrammableFlow switches to provide the automation and secure service provisioning that allows scientists to engage in widespread collaborations and maximize the full potential of cloud computing. The talk took place on Monday July 11, 2011, at Davis Concert Hall at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Even though science networking extensively employs aspects of network virtualization, mismatches still exist between the campus networks, HPC data centers and R&E networks that require manual intervention and limit end-to-end network control. For the first time, NEC and ESnet demonstrated end-to-end network virtualization across campus and wide-area network domains.  This talk illustrated how OpenFlow can be used to bridge these gaps through integration with OSCARS, leveraging NEC ProgrammableFlow switches’ network virtualization and flow management capabilities.

OpenFlow enables networks to evolve by giving a remote controller the power to modify the behavior of network devices, through a well-defined "forwarding instruction set". The growing OpenFlow ecosystem now includes routers, switches, virtual switches, and access points from a range of vendors.

OSCARS enables the automated provisioning of guaranteed bandwidth over the WAN in research and engineering networks including Internet2, USLHCnet, Nordic network NORDUnet, and Brazil’s RNP.  User applications can reserve bandwidth across multiple wide-area domains in advance and offers reliable end-to-end throughput, and quality of service in managing time-sensitive and large data sets. 

NEC’s ProgrammableFlow switches and controller software leverage the OpenFlow protocol to automatically monitor and intelligently distribute network traffic across multiple paths, enabling more efficient use of network resources and multiplying available bandwidth within the network. Complexity is significantly reduced, as ProgrammableFlow eliminates the need for distributed protocols such as Spanning Tree.

Networking researchers around the country now can access OpenFlow’s capabilities on ESnet’s Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI) testbed using NEC ProgrammableFlow switches to test out advanced concepts in networking. 

 “This pioneering collaboration between the ESnet team and NEC integrating OSCARS and OpenFlow to close the gap between campus and wide area networks has enormous potential for both industry and scientific research,” said Steve Cotter, Head of ESnet. “The ability to virtualize networks from end-to-end will allow for the effortless movement of data in and out of the cloud as well as between scientific instruments and researchers.”

“ProgrammableFlow leverages the OpenFlow protocol to program the network, providing a dynamic, resilient environment, and creating unprecedented flexibility for users,” reports Don Clark, Director of Business Development, IT Platform Technologies at NEC.

OSCARS has been used by ESnet to manage and provision virtual circuits on its production network since 2009 and currently carries more than half of its total network traffic. OSCARS is open-sourced and is the most widely deployed software of its kind in regular use by research and education networks.  OSCARS is also interoperable with other virtual circuit software in use in Europe and Asia. OSCARS development was funded by the DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.  The OSCARS 0.6 source code is hosted at

About NEC Corporation of America
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