Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Juniper brings very big data handling to Cern

Steve Rogerson
December 11, 2019



European nuclear research organisation Cern has selected Juniper Networks to use artificial intelligence (AI) to increase network capacity for handling unprecedented volumes of data for its scientific projects and everyday tasks.
 
Cern, one of the world's largest and most respected centres for scientific research, has deployed California-based Juniper's networking to increase the capacity of its data centres and technical network to adapt to increasing research requirements. Cern deployed Juniper QFX switches and EX Ethernet switches, and is evaluating tungsten fabric to create a network built for extreme computing.
 
Cern's mission is to learn more about how the universe works. Home to the world-renowned large hadron collider (LHC), shown in the picture, Cern is advancing the boundaries of human knowledge through breakthrough research in fundamental physics.
 
The LHC experiments are designed to observe up to 1.7 billion proton-proton collisions per second and produce a data volume of more than 7.5Tbyte per second. Only some of these events lead to new discoveries, therefore the flow of data is filtered and reduced to a manageable level. The LHC experiments' trigger and data acquisition systems handle data filtering, collection and infrastructure monitoring. Juniper's switching portfolio provides high-throughput connectivity to support the data collection and infrastructure monitoring.
 
Cern's Geneva data centre supports all its scientific projects, experiments and administrative systems, from spotting camera-shy pentaquarks and charm mesons to everyday video conferencing and payroll tasks. The data centre network supports more than 15,000 servers and 260,000 processor cores. It enables researchers around the world to receive data from the LHC experiments for analysis. In the past 12 months, 370 petabytes of data have moved across the network.
 
To prepare its data centres for the next wave of scientific discovery, Cern deployed Juniper's QFX10008 Ethernet switch for the new data centre core network. The QFX10008 switch delivered on Cern's requirements for fast, reliable connectivity and 100Gbit/s port density to support the inevitable traffic growth. The core network can be scaled from 40 to 100Gbit/s.
 
The QFX switch provides high-throughput connectivity to support the data collection and infrastructure monitoring of the LHC experiments. Multiple virtual router instances with different class-of-service policies allow different traffic types, such as management, control, data, monitoring and simulation, enhancing redundancy, load balancing and increased network efficiency.
 
Juniper's EX9200 Ethernet switch, connecting 11,000 devices, supports the LHC operations and experiments, as well as monitoring and safety systems. The architecture enables a robust, reliable and scalable technical network.
 
Automation has simplified the configuration and management of 400 routers and switches across Cern's campus. Open source plays a vital role in meeting the research demands from collaborators around the world.
 
"After electricity, networking is the most important element for us at Cern,” said Tony Cass, IT infrastructure group lead at Cern. “The physicists need the experiment data to be moved to the data centre where it's processed and sent to our partners around the world. We also have thousands of employees who need access to the research database and regularly need email and web access. So, if the network doesn't work, Cern doesn't work. Juniper has provided the network that supports the collider's operations and experiments, as well as its data centre and backbone."

James Morgan, vice president at Juniper Networks, added: "Juniper is very proud to be working with Cern by putting dynamic automation and a robust network in place and supporting the organisation to embark on the next wave of scientific discovery to continue helping us to understand our mysterious universe."