Les Cottrell's ESCC Sep '95 Trip Report
Last Update: October 5, 1995
ESnet is running two WWW servers on DEC AXP 600s. They share the
same files via AFS. They are also using the Harvest indexer to
facilitate searches for information. The older WAIS indexer is to be
ESnet is using a new trouble ticket system based on the commercial
Remedy Action Request System.
The uncertainty of a possible move of NERSC/ESnet from LLNL to LBNL is
affecting morale. Three people have already bailed from the ESnet
group and have not been replaced. They went to Sun, Microsoft and a bike
company and got substantial increases in salary.
The take over of many regional networks such as BARRNET by commercial
firms such as BBN is resulting in dramatic increases in connection
costs. Apparently LBNL was quoted something over $200K/year. This
could cause the labs with both ESnet and regional connections to drop
the regional connections. This in turn could increase ESnet traffic
and also degrade connections to the universities.
For the future we (ESnet managers and users) need to worry about:
- effective congestion control and traffic management
- availability of good network management tools etc
- untested and very complex emerging standards
- how to "firewall" ATM access
- appropriate usage policies.
Chris Dorsey of ESnet reported on their network monitoring. It has many
similarities to the SLAC system, though it is aimed at the wide area
network routers in ESnet. Early on in their development, they visited
SLAC and discussed with Connie Logg and me what we were doing. They are
collecting the data (7GB/month) into an Oracle database, and using Wingz
for the data presentation. They have put a lot of effort into ensuring
the integrity of the data. For the future they are looking at how to
monitor the ATM virtual circuits, making the procedures more automated,
increasing the use of the reports for trouble shooting, and generating
ESnet, BNL, and LANL and ORNL are all using Cabletron's Spectrum Network
Monitoring Platform. Both ESnet and BNL are new converts. Though
expensive, it is highly regarded; in particular, it appears to have some
powerful thresholding analysis tools and distributed monitoring support.
Sites are encouraged to upgrade to their WAN DECnet systems to tunnel
DECnet over IP by April '96. The existing ESnet DECnet network should
be maintained at its current level of service through April '96, and at
its current level of connectivity through April '97. After April '97,
there are no plans for continued ESnet DECnet support.
The .gov domain will be reserved for Federal government agencies in the
future. The labs are grandfathered in .gov. However, any new requests
for domain names from the labs (e.g. for .lbnl.) will not be accepted
into .gov. The most likely place to move to would be .org. SLAC is not
affected since we chose to be under slac.stanford.edu. The impact of
such a change (.gov --> .org) on converting all the mailing addresses,
etc. would be large. A task force was created to identify the impact of
such a change on both technical and functional areas.
GSA is pushing a government wide e-mail system. This looks to be based
on an X.400 system (DMS) developed for the defense program. It has
lots of security and the developers included Microsoft and Novell. More
information can be found
will interwork with SMTP/MIME mail through gateways. Even if we as
labs, do not move to DMS we will need to interwork so the ESCC will
look at getting the DMS people together with ESnet representatives
to identify joint requirements for interworking.
- ORNL have developed a system, called FaME, to provide a Web interface to
their legacy financial databases. It provides password and domain restrictions
in an hierarchical tree.
DOE-2000 is a program to use advanced information techniques to support 1)
virtual labs (i.e. collaborative environment technology which might be used,
for example, to
provide the Advanced Light Source with extended facilities online) , 2)
advanced computational testing and simulation (which appears to
be aimed, in ER, replacing hazardous experiments with simulations
to provide a means of conducting safe tests).
Both of these
programs dovetail Galvin Commission recommendations. One of
the intents is to increase the availability of the labs
and data to industry and academia. This will require a significant
investment of $75M+/year. The Defense Program and ER will be taxed to
There is a Federal Network Internet Security Plan being worked on to
provide guidelines for agencies on how to implement security. Look
under the federal networking council's
home page for more information. Apparently people like Netscape are
looking at integrating Email with the Web, in order to provide a platform
independent Email system. There appears to be a real need for
a powerful (smart browser, keyword searches, filtering, identification
of important vs junk, handles enclosures) client that is easy to use,
runs on all platforms etc. The DCCC wants to create an Email requirements
There is concern about the duplicate wide area networks being built in
DOE. DOE is putting together a departmental group to look at this. The
charter is being worked on.
Distributed Informatic Collaborative Computing Environment (DICCE)
MICS has approved financial plans to fund the first 8 DICCE
proposals at $14.46M (total). .
There may be some more carry over
funding (from the delay in the ATM/Sprint contract) for funding more
The DICCE approved projects are:
Authentication infrastructure; Distributed Environments
and Epics; A Reference Model for Providing Network
Resources; Security for Large Scal Remote Environments;
Secure PVM; Privacy and Security for Packet Switched Video over the
WAN; Distributed Informatics Management; Integrated Architecture for a
Global File System.
There was a proposal for load sharing but it was not funded.
One topic not well represented in the DICCE proposals was for common
Mac, PC and Unix MBONE conferencing tools.
Bill Johnson talked about 5 pilots for DCEE.
The 5 pilots include: electron microcopy with
virtual reality - based at ANL, remote control for a fusion Tokomak (LLNL,
Princeton, ORNL, GA), distributed collaborations on
environmental molecular sciences (PNL), remote operation of
the Advanced Light Source (Wisconsin and LBL),
security architectures. See the URL
http://www-itg.lbl.gov/DCEEpage/DCEE_Overview.html for more details.
There is considerable interest in the electronic logbook. Some of
the concerns are timestamping, and legal (e.g. Patent issues). Baylor has
an X platform notebook.
Deb Argarwal of LBL seems to have done quite a lot in this
area. There was interest in a
possible workshop to hammer out requirements for this broad, complex
subject, plus a speaker for the next DCCC on this.
There is also interest in resource discovery, and a call for a workshop and
speaker for this, maybe coordinated with something on CORBA.