Cern, the research organisation behind the Large Hadron Collider, has begun a planned expansion of its network to 100Gb Ethernet by selecting Brocade gear for the upgrade.
On Wednesday, Brocade announced that Cern will use its 100Gb Ethernet-capable MLXe Core Routers for the upgrade to the European research body's infrastructure, which handles huge amounts of data and a high throughput from the physics experiments it houses.
"Brocade's MLXe solution... gives us a platform to 100Gb Ethernet when the time is right," Jean-Michel Jouanigot, communication systems group leader in Cern's IT department, said, as quoted in a Brocade statement. "I do not see our appetite for data waning in the future."
Cern runs a distributed computing infrastructure, made up of multiple computing hubs across the world, to cope with the data produced by its research. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is located in Cern's underground facility beneath the French-Swiss border, can generate up to a terabit per second of data, when it is conducting its experiments to discover fundamental physics. That data is captured and fed into the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, which covers Tier-1 centres in the UK, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, Spain, Taipei and two sites in the US.
Cern's core network has a non-blocking capacity of 4.2Tbps, but the European research organisation estimates that the capacity will climb to over 10Tbps by 2011. Non-blocking capacity is the amount of capacity that is available for disruption-free point-to-point connections.
Brocade's 100Gb Ethernet-capable routers will allow Cern to route more signals with reliance on less hardware as its overall data generation climbs. The routers it will be using — the MLXe-32, MLXe-16, MLXe-8 — were launched in September as Brocade's first 100Gb Ethernet-capable machines. Pricing for each router starts at £14,308.
Cern recently announced that had successfully trapped 38 antimatter atoms, the first time this had been done anywhere in the world.