GEANT is the high bandwidth pan-European research and education backbone that interconnects National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) across Europe and provides worldwide connectivity through links with other regional networks. It has helped create a new network that uses a combination of software, renewable energy resources and the GEANT network infrastructure to help create the GreenStar Network (GSN) project, which uses green energy resources to power network infrastructure.
The project’s aim is to develop green ICT technologies based on resource virtualization and Infrastructure-as-a-Service to create networks with a zero-carbon footprint. A cloud-based infrastructure ensures the maximum amount of green energy is used at any one time.
The network has four international nodes inside European data centers which are powered solely by renewable energy. Two of the data centers are run in Ireland by NREN HEAnet, which use a combination of solar and wind power.
The GSN relies on the high capacity, pan-European GEANT network to transmit this vital monitoring data in real-time, using a mix of dedicated point to point circuits as well as GEANT's Bandwidth on Demand (BoD) multi-domain connectivity service. BoD enables the fast, automatic creation of dedicated high speed links between different network points within minutes, providing guaranteed bandwidth for the GSN.
GreenStar Network project instigator Mohamed Cheriet said the project is based on a virtualized green architecture that relies heavily on automatic bandwidth provisioning.
“The GreenStar Network aims to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce the carbon footprint of ICT without decreasing performance,” Cheriot said. “The techniques and technology within the GSN project have far-reaching potential to reduce emissions, but none of this would be possible without flexible, high performance international research networks such as GEANT to provide the real time monitoring and control needed to deliver a virtualized green architecture.”
GSN used monitoring and control software provided by the Mantychore open source project to distribute data processing and traffic loads between the four nodes.
The Canadian NREN CARNARIE has funded the GSN project, and created a self-contained network that features automatic bandwidth provisioning across multiple networks using the four European nodes in October 2011.
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Edited by Rich Steeves