We often discuss ways technology can facilitate innovation and development in the business community in this space, particularly advances in networking, communications and collaboration. The importance of the Research and Education (R&E) community can’t be underestimated, however, and technology is playing an increasingly pivotal role when it comes to aiding global collaboration among students, educators and scientists.
Renee Reinke, senior advisor of channel marketing at optical networking company Ciena, has had the privilege of working directly with the R&E community to determine how networking technology can aid with collaboration and development efforts. Reinke highlighted three networking milestones that have played an invaluable role in fostering innovation and development throughout the R&E realm.
Network infrastructure is vital for successful collaboration and innovation, and the recent shift toward software-centric solutions has made a major impact in the R&E space. In fact, this is a community that has been advocating for software defined networking (SDN) for years, thanks to its open, multi-vendor and multi-layer approach and myriad benefits. The growing emphasis on software is helping researchers add intelligence and autonomy to the network through new machine learning models that can predict and react to network performance issues and security threats in real time.
Virtualization goes hand in hand with the shift to software, and costly, application-oriented hardware is being replaced by off-the-shelf appliances based on software. The new offerings are easy to install and are easily managed, making them invaluable tools for campuses and other R&E environments. Virtualized solutions are less expensive, require less time spent on management, maintenance and special training and are more scalable and flexible than legacy hardware-centric solutions.
Speaking of flexibility, R&E, like the business sector, is requiring enormous amounts of bandwidth to keep apace of the demands of the cloud and Web-scale networking. Being able to optimize bandwidth using programmable optics and high-density line cards is essential to preventing traffic jams and ensuring organizations remain within their budget and equipment parameters.
The R&E community is an undervalued and yet essential part of the global network transformation taking place today. Just as the sector is hard at work developing new technologies and tools for all types of vertical markets, they are also benefiting from advances in networking optimization and the shift toward virtualization and an increasingly software-defined approach to networking infrastructure management.
Edited by Alicia Young