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AARNet News - Green
29 February, 2016

Seventh Global R&E Network CEO Forum meeting held in Santiago, Chile

The Global Research and Education (R&E) Network CEO Forum met face-to-face on 17-19 February 2016, hosted by the Latin American Regional R&E Network RedCLARA in Santiago, Chile, to continue a series of strategic discussions on the current and future challenges facing the global R&E networking community.

The CEO Forum participants welcomed the executive leader of SANReN from South Africa as a new entrant to the Forum.

At the meeting in Santiago, the Forum continued work on developing a roadmap to implement the Forum’s vision and ambition.

The group developed scope for individual work areas and added the area of Open Science, which will focus on providing access to open data sources and delivering data stewardship.

In addition, the Forum is planning a global summit in the 3rd quarter of this year to pull together all products & solutions capabilities of above the network layer for all 117 R&E Networks across the world in order to facilitate and simplify the global collaboration among our users, by stimulating the availability and interoperability in areas like video, storage and the cloud.

As many R&E Networking organizations are increasing their focus on security, the Forum participants spent time in Santiago discussing and sharing their security strategies and experiences. In these discussions, the Forum evaluated the progress of the security study group and agreed to refocus the direction of the group’s efforts.

The Forum participants also zoomed into the broad range of financial challenges associated with sustainably operating an R&E Network organization. Based on this discussion, they agreed to create a subgroup that will bring together Chief Financial Officers of R&E Networking organizations to share and benchmark best practices.

The Forum reviewed the status of two working groups:

Global Network Architecture: The Forum acknowledged the progress the GNA Technical working group made in advancing the architecture documents to stable v1.0 (available at Building on the principles articulated in these documents, the Forum participants agreed to move forward with aligning current intercontinental links with these principles. The Forum created a subgroup tasked with providing a market analysis and assessing funding and investment opportunities to increase our global presence by optimizing arrangements with global undersea carriers and with the world’s global content providers. It is intended to finalize the GNA plans by the second half of the year.

Knowledge Exchange: The Forum endorsed the role and scope of this working group and agreed to move the efforts forward by:

  • sharing business, financial and technical experience among R&E Networks,
  • promoting the value of R&E Networks,
  • increasing the awareness on R&E Network activities with governments and relevant funding bodies, and
  • coordinating training, share resources and knowledge exchange where no mechanisms currently exist.

The CEO Forum participants reviewed the status of the “In the Field” blog. Despite only having been a live site for a few months, several governments around the world have responded positively to the level of global collaboration and the necessary investment evident resulting from the NREN community’s advances in providing leading edge networking, storage and tools capabilities allowing Science, Research and Learning to flourish. With 64 stories published to date and with over 6000 page views from close to 100 countries, the Forum participants acknowledged the value of this effort and agreed to increase their contributions to, and promotions of this effort.

During the last day of the meeting in Santiago, Paola Arellano (Executive Director, REUNA) and Jorge Ibsen (Head, ALMA Department of Computing) presented on “Astronomy and Connectivity” in Chile. These presentations reemphasized the challenges associated with data transport for big science, and in particular local loop issues towards science instruments in remote areas. These problems can only be solved by combining global efforts like the GNA with local infrastructures, and the continued focus of the CEO Forum as an essential part of the delivery of the future network, storage and tools capabilities. This will be essential for projects like the Square-Kilometre Array (SKA) to be successful as it works towards completion of the SKA1 phase. The follow-up discussions highlighted the importance of coordination between

R&E Networking organizations and the science communities to ensure seamless delivery of science data on a global scale.

A next face-to-face meeting of the CEO Forum is scheduled to take place in Vancouver, Canada in July 2016.

The Global R&E Network CEO Forum consists of the Chief Executive Officers of AARNet (Australia), CANARIE (Canada), CERNET (China), CUDI (Mexico), GÉANT Association (Europe), DFN (Germany), Internet2 (USA), NORDUnet (European Nordics), REANNZ (New Zealand), RedCLARA (Latin America), RENATER (France), RNP (Brazil), SANReN (South Africa), SINET (Japan), SURFnet (The Netherlands), and the UbuntuNet Alliance (Southern and Eastern Africa).