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Internet2 Azure Express Route Service

Posted By David Marble, Thursday, March 1, 2018


Reprinted from a guest blog post at Internet2


OSHEAN, Rhode Island’s Research and Education Network (REN), is participating with Internet2 on a Proof of Concept (POC) for cloud connectivity aligning with the overall community effort to explore next generation network infrastructure. This particular POC initially focuses on the consumption model for Microsoft Azure but it is accepted that the general model will apply to other cloud providers. In my request to Internet2 for a trial, I posited that the Regionals and Internet2 play an important role in providing simplified yet robust access to the major cloud providers and that the complexities of the network infrastructure needed for cloud services are often underestimated by our members.  The role we play in simplifying, managing and even automating the configurations for network connectivity for cloud payloads is highly valuable and has proven to be an important component of OSHEAN’s current cloud offerings.

OSHEAN was the first member to take advantage of Internet2’s recent announcement of the availability of Microsoft Azure Direct Connect peering in Ashburn, VA.  With the help of Internet2 and Northern Crossroads (NoX) engineers, our network engineers were able to implement a Layer2 payload service through OSHEAN’s infrastructure and across Internet2’s AL2S service to the ExpressRoute service in Ashburn VA.  OSHEAN also established a Layer3 connection as well for comparative purpose.  We intend to compare the technical and business ability to support payloads through the R&E community versus traditional commercial methods.  It is OSHEAN’s hypothesis that the answers will show better control, performance, security, resilience and visibility of cloud payloads while lowering cost profiles for connections.  OSHEAN is currently moving to the phase of the testing whereby its PoC member partner, Brown University, will start to evaluate using this connection method for selected enterprise applications.


A second component of the PoC will introduce a technology vendor to implement SDN technology over the Internet2 backbone for Azure Express Route connectivity.  OSHEAN envisions an adaptation of SD-WAN techniques to be a potentially valuable tool to help automate and manage cloud connections. We believe that, as the technical nuances and true economics of cloud migration become better understood, members will start to send application payloads to a variety of cloud services depending on the individual technical and business considerations of the application itself.  SD-WAN, applied in a consistent method across our peering choices, will simplify/automate configuration, increase security and increase management visibility for all our members. Stay tuned!

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Posted By David Marble, Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Here is the link to my interview with GoLocalProv this past week....


It was a fun interview and I like their format and Kate did a nice job.  It was easier than writing my blog!

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Guest Blog for Internet2

Posted By David Marble, Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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Posted By David Marble, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This Friday we are holding our annual Member Forum.  As is practice, we were looking at themes for the event and I suggested the word “disruption”.  Certainly not a novel concept and one that is used often in our industry.  However, the more I have been thinking about the word and its use, the more intrigued I am by the nature of its meaning.  A blog like this might normally default to looking up the definition and picking it apart.  I resisted that temptation because I believe there are so many connotations that it borders on being one of those words that means different things to different people in different contexts.  Many people have a direct line from disruption to stress.  The stress meter redlines as soon as the envisioned plan experiences deviation.  Planning becomes the antithesis of disruption.  If we were all perfect planners and all seers, disruption would disappear.


Is disruption good or bad?  Do you view the word from a negative, positive or neutral perspective?  An alarm clock is certainly disruptive, especially in the middle of a wonderful dream.  We have all experienced the disappointment and even anger when it goes off.  But doesn’t it depend on why it is set to go off in the first place?  If it is waking you up so you can arrive at your wedding on time, the disruption is welcome.  I maintain that reactions to disruption are all about ones outlook and overall perspective on dealing with things unforeseen.  I am enamored by the analogy to the rumble strip on the side of the highway that jolts a driver who nods off.  Certainly disruptive but potentially in a life-saving way.  In a business context, I have certainly witnessed disruptive events that act like the rumble strip, jolting a company from complacency and making them better for it.  At the conference, you will hear about both sides of the coin.  Disruptions that truly led off course in a negative way and those that had profound positive impact.  I enjoyed the Atrion “Always On” symposium this year which had the theme “Resilience” with wonderful talks from people who had life changing “disruptions” and their stories of perseverance.


We in IT deal with the concept of disruption constantly.  Much of our objectives center around the minimization of disruption.  Disaster Recovery is now termed Business Continuity as we make technical progress toward the ability make applications always available.  Planning for disruption is interesting; just try to get a maintenance window for a network like OSHEAN’s and you will see how much tolerance there is for disruption.  We continue to raise expectations and expectation rarely deals with the unforeseen.  That translates into requirements to spend more and more time in planning and practice.  One of the great features in our Cloud DR service is the ability to test failover while in production.  The technology affords us with an unprecedented level of planning and practice to set an expectation of result in the event of an actual disruptive event.  We in IT live the opposite of “no expectations therefore never disappointed”.  Cybersecurity is a classic case study in planning for disruptive agents and events that cannot be characterized entirely.  Frameworks are the key elements used in cybersecurity planning as many times exacting detail is elusive.


I am looking forward to the event this week and hope to see you there!

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Work Never Done

Posted By David Marble, Friday, April 21, 2017

Next week we will be releasing our spring issue of the eCurrent.  We decided to highlight some of the research going on in our community, as it is my observation that research embodies some of the most wonderfully positive activity happening in our backyard yet goes widely unreported.  Even when it hits a headline, it does not bubble up to the level of importance given to Kim Kardashian.  Also, even when noticed, many do not spend time thinking about the topic nor do any further learning on the subject matter.  I question even how many will truly spend the time to read the issue we have constructed.  Understanding the research of an astrophysicist who just observed a gravitational wave can be challenging and translating the deep science into tangible meaning and conversational language is difficult.  We do however miss an opportunity to be uplifted if we don’t try.


As I state in my President’s letter opening the issue, the “R” in R&E Networks stands for research.  Our companies and networks were founded to support the massively critical research going on in our membership.  What that affords us at OSHEAN is visibility to the unbounded wonders of research; its people and its process.  Our membership is currently doing research in almost every conceivable field from the deep physical sciences to healthcare to sociology and economics.  One of the fascinating aspects of research is that many individuals on research journeys are very comfortable with the idea that they will never finish.  Invariably, the journey will make discoveries that lead to more questions.  Physicists for millennia have been searching for a unified theory of the universe.  Deeper and deeper they go toward understanding only to find more unknowns.  The sports analogy I use is for young tennis players that need to learn how to lose.  The better they get, the better players they face forcing a lifetime of losing to some degree.  In this issue of the eCurrent, we profile the particle physicists at Brown and their search for the “God Particle” (aka. The Higgs Boson) which was first observed in 2012.  Observation of this mysterious particle answered and confirmed many theories in unified theory and while it was a monumental discovery, it opened new questions and led to an increase in research of “Dark Matter” to provide answers to the questions raised form the observation.  In my humble opinion, Dark Matter was named for the fact that we know almost nothing about it yet it makes up about 85% of the mass of the known universe.  I postulate that as soon as we learn more of dark matter and observe its behaviors, we will begin to name its components, probably after the physicists who have the most impact in the research.


There is a sense among most I talk to that the news of the day and the media in general focus on negative stories.  The core of research however, is built on a strong foundation of hope.  We at OSHEAN hope this next issue of our magazine instills a bit of that magic in you!


“To boldly go where no one has gone before”.

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