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Network upgrades to boost range of research

New partnership with Arista Networks will refresh, expand high performance computing, storage capabilities

High performance systems Mar 2, 2023
Big Red 200 supercomputer at the IU Data Center
With expanded network capacity, high performance computing tools like supercomputer Big Red 200 will be better able to support the IU community.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—High performance computing at Indiana University and the discoveries it generates are about to get a major speed boost, thanks to a research network upgrade slated for later this year.  

After a competitive bidding process, IU selected Arista Networks to build a network infrastructure that replaces its existing 10-year-old infrastructure. The new network, designed by IU network engineers and high performance computing experts, will allow for greater research network capacity while establishing a foundation for growth. The upgrade will benefit a wide range of areas, from studies focused on ethical animal research and the risk of COVID-19 on cancer patients to child well-being and renewable energy. 

“IU’s high performance computing demands have dramatically increased over the years,” said Matt Link, associate vice president for IU’s Research Technologies (RT) division. “In fact, since our latest supercomputer Big Red 200 was made available in spring 2022, IU researchers have run over half a million jobs, using 197 million core hours. It’s crucial that we have a network that can handle all this work—and more. This upgrade will continue IU’s long tradition of supporting its diverse research community of students, faculty, and staff.”

Because of this demand, and to support Big Red 200, IU has made significant investments and improvements in both compute and storage. To maximize these upgrades, IU’s research network needs a corresponding refresh of hardware, along with a redesigned network architecture, to ensure the capacity and reliability needed to support the research community at Indiana University. 

This upgrade will continue IU’s long tradition of supporting its diverse research community of students, faculty, and staff.

Matt Link

“Given the scope and scale of high-performance computing initiatives across the university, providing a research network that is both highly performant and resilient is critical to ensure we are getting the most out of our world-class research infrastructure,” said Caleb Garrett, manager, campus network engineering, whose team designed the new network. “We are excited about our new partnership with Arista and how it will further the mission of IU.” 

 The new and improved research network will feature a spine-leaf architecture pairing the research network with a similar design as the campus network, enabling more stability and resiliency. The network upgrade also includes a significant expansion of 100Gb and 400Gb network connectivity, allowing students, faculty, and staff on campus and IU researchers around the globe to have broad access to world-class research infrastructure. 

“Arista Networks is pleased to be selected for Indiana University’s next-generation research network. The 100Gb and 400Gb capabilities on a consolidated, single high performance network will help IU advance their research mission,” said Ed Chapman, vice president of business development and strategic alliances for Arista Networks. “By leveraging CloudVision, IU will be able to provide network-wide workload orchestration, workflow automation, and visibility to their talented team of researchers.”

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