For Big Data, the Innovation Platform will allow member institutions to keep pace with the exponential growth in
massive datasets generated by scientific research conducted by collaborative researchers in U.S. labs and
universities. But Vietzke also expects advances similar to those in the university environments that created Google
and Facebook to possibly emerge from use of the Innovation Platform.
The Innovation Platform was proposed earlier this year by
Internet2 as a complement to its NDDI project and the NSF's GENI program. At
that time, it was
touted as a new $96.5 million national-scale SDN owned by the research and education community.
"A multidomain, wide-area view of what SDN can do is unique," Vietzke says. "If you thick back to the early era
where the network stack was open, and folks on campus started out with this thing call TCP/IP, and decided they
needed this thing called DNS, and came up with this thing called mail transport -- all of that was in an era when
networking and the protocol stacks were open and folks were able to innovate. We're hopeful that this 100G backbone
with 30-plus nodes across the country doing SDN will provide that same kind of testbed."
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
helped fund Internet2's network upgrade in support of the U.S. Unified Community Anchor Network (UCAN) project.
UCAN enables advanced networking capabilities for more than 200,000 of the country's "anchor" institutions,
including libraries, hospitals, K-12 schools, community colleges and public safety organizations.
Such capabilities include HD and multicast video distance learning and telemedicine applications, among others,
which are not possible using consumer-grade Internet service, according to Internet2.
Vietzke says he expects one or more other "major players" with OpenFlow-enabled products to be announced for the
Innovation Platform in the near future.
Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco
Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.
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