NASA Demonstrates New High-Speed Encrypted Network

NASA network engineers successfully extended the secure computing
environment of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. to the showroom floor of Supercomputing 2009 (SC09) at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland,

The demonstration utilized a high-speed network provided by
the NASA Research and Engineering Network (NREN) and National
LambdaRail that was recently upgraded with Cisco Systems, Inc.
equipment to create a 40-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) connection. This 40
Gbps infrastructure was thoroughly tested with bi-directional 4×10
Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) data streams generated with nuttcp, a
NASA-developed application for network performance testing and file

There was zero packet loss between the host systems
at Ames and Portland for notable periods during these tests—a critical
condition for file transfers at 10 Gbps or higher. Using nuttscp and
RAID50 disk arrays on systems costing only about $5K each, engineers
were able to achieve 9 Gbps of disk-to-disk transfers between Ames and

In another demonstration on this 40 Gbps network
testbed, using Longbow E100 networking devices developed by Obsidian
Research, engineers seamlessly and securely extended NAS’ InfiniBand
(IB) network connection nearly 600 miles to drive remote simulations
without loss of data fidelity. The proof-of-concept was demonstrated
with NASA’s finite-volume General Circulation Model (fvGCM) application
on a small traveling version of the hyperwall visualization system. In
addition, using the D-sync application (an IB version of R-sync),
systems from SC09 were able to generate encrypted file transfers at
almost 750 MB/s (6 Gbps).

NASA scientists and engineers can
leverage this capability for solving problems such as global climate
change and other compute-intensive engineering problems. This
cost-effective network extension technology may also minimize the need
to retrofit or expand existing data centers.

demonstrations of NASA’s network capability are available on the SC09
showroom floor (booth # 1947) throughout the conference.

For more information about NASA’s presence at the SC09 conference, visit:


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