Securing supercomputer networks (without disrupting 60Gbps data flows)

Thanks to super-charged networks like the US Department of Energy’s ESnet and the consortium known as Internet2, scientists crunching huge bodies of data finally have 10Gbps pipes at the ready to zap that information to their peers anywhere in the world. But what happens when firewalls and other security devices torpedo those blazing speeds?That’s what Joe Breen, assistant director of networking at the University of Utah’s Center for High Performance Computing, asked two years ago as he diagnosed the barriers he found on his organization’s $262,500-per-year Internet2 backbone connection. The network — used to funnel the raw data used in astronomy, high-energy physics, and genomics — boasted a 10Gbps connection, enough bandwidth in theory to share a terabyte’s worth of information in 20 minutes. But there was a problem: “stateful” firewalls — the security appliances administrators use to monitor packets entering and exiting a network and to block those deemed malicious — brought maximum speeds down to just 500Mbps. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for the network to drop all the way to 200Mbps. The degradation was even worse when transfers used IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol.To continue reading this Ars Technica report, go to:

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