SC16 Conference: Home of the The World’s Fastest Network

conferenceYou don’t think of High Performance Computing (HPC) everyday but its use in a diverse set of applications such as climate prediction, nuclear labs, oil and gas discovery, defense and aerospace work, financial forecasting and other computational intensive activities touch us in our daily lives.  And from November 13 – 18, 2016 Salt Lake City become the home for HPC enthusiasts at the SC16 conference.

What makes this conference different than any other? It happens to be the home for the world’s fastest network, SCinet. It is a high-performance, experimental network that is specifically built for the conference and connecting it to the broader internet. To give you a sense of its capacity, it provides more than 5 Tpbs(!) of internal network bandwidth along with tens of 100 Gbps Ethernet circuits to bring 3.15 Tbps of WAN bandwidth to the convention. Exhibitors, more than 12,000 of them, avail this cutting-edge super high performance network to showcase demos and latest research in HPC.

SC16-20161114-332That is not just the amazing part – it is built by volunteers and vendors just for this conference.

“SCinet hardware is supplied by vendors, and then volunteers collaborate to design a network architecture that exists nowhere else in the world”, said Corby Schimtz, SCinet Chair.

What does it take to build such a network, you ask? 200 volunteers from 18 countries with $32M worth of vendor provided equipment and services which includes 56 miles of fiber optic cable and 200+ wireless access points that can support 10,000 simultaneous users on the conference wifi. It takes over a year to design, 3 weeks to build and 24 hours to tear down – all for 4 days of operation.

If you are security minded, I know what you are thinking – this is a hacker’s dream! What would be better than breaking into the world’s fastest network?  Well, the SCinet folks had it covered. Splunk was on hand to monitor and secure this world’s fastest network!

Steve Brant and Traci Dawson from Splunk led our internal planning team with the Department of Energy and the SCinet committee to make this network secure. They were onsite working fast and furious, those 3 weeks to install and configure Splunk on the University of Utah’s high performance computing cluster.

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When it comes to security, the stakes are high. Splunk has been an innovator and is a leader in security employed by tens of thousands of commercial and government entities around the world. It’s great to see that we are extending that leadership into arenas that require more than just technology to secure networks – the trust needed to keep sensitive information safe, highly critical networks from being breached and enable people to go about their business with confidence and peace of mind.

Until next time,
Ashok