On-Demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System
Short for "On-demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System," OSCARS is a freely available open-source product. As developed by the Department of Energy’s high-performance science network ESnet, OSCARS was designed by network engineers who specialize in supporting the U.S. national laboratory system and its data-intensive collaborations.
OSCARS is an advanced software system for booking time and resources on high-speed science networks, which are used by large teams of researchers to share vast amounts of data. Compared with "commodity" networks, science networks must transport stunning amounts of data both quickly and flawlessly. It can take weeks or months to manually configure a network to support large scientific collaborations involving supercomputers, advanced instruments, and scientists distributed around the world. OSCARS deftly cuts through this complexity and can configure and reserve a reliable, customized set of network connections in a matter of minutes, not weeks.
In addition to science applications, OSCARS provides network operators the ability to dynamically provision backup resources should their network experience unforeseen outages.
Through its production and development phase, OSCARS has received multiple awards including the:
- 2013 R&D100 Award (see http://www.rdmag.com/award-winners/2013/07/2013-r-d-100-award-winners for more information), and
- 2011 Internet2 IDEA Award (see http://www.internet2.edu/news/detail/4894/).
OSCARS enables a number of essential functions including:
- Collaboration and data sharing. The OSCARS 0.6 release has the most extensive set of capabilities and is the most deployed software used to schedule, reserve, and provision network resources.
- Guaranteed bandwidth scheduling and provisioning of network resources. OSCARS allows users to reserve bandwidth, VLAN, and other network resources both in space and time.
- Optimal user flexibility. OSCARS is the only provisioning software that supports the notion of minimum guaranteed bandwidth. The user can exceed the bandwidth limit guarantee if there is spare unreserved capacity along the path.
- User application integration. OSCARS saves time and resources by automating the setup and teardown of virtual circuits through application integration: OSCARSʼ APIs allow other software programs to access it directly. Currently there are three software applications (two operational and one experimental) that can interoperate with OSCARS.
- Network technology agnostic. The modular design of OSCARS allows it to easily support multiple network technologies concurrently.
- Multiple network service offerings. OSCARS is designed to support multiple service offerings concurrently, resulting in a richer set of service offerings that can be advertised and utilized by the user.
- Extensive equipment vendor/platform support. OSCARS builds a very flexible system that allows easy development of capabilities to control multivendor boxes. As new devices come to market, OSCARS can be extended to support them as well.
- Support for emerging innovations, like software-defined networking (SDN). OSCARS is playing a vital role in the development of OpenFlow, a relatively new SDN protocol that allows the path of network packets through the network of switches to be determined by software running on the network routers.
More information about the OSCARS code can also be found at http://code.google.com/p/oscars-idc/.
The successful operation of OSCARS essentially centers on two fundamental processes: Resource scheduling, Path routing based on resource availability and existing reservations, i.e., multi- constrained path computation . Both processes belong to a class of decision problems for which the time required to solve a problem increases rapidly as the size of the problem grows. To address this, OSCARS aggressively pares away any extraneous information prior to executing the path computation. … Read More »
As of 2013, OSCARS has been adopted by 50+ global research networks, wide-area backbones, regional networks, exchange points, local-area networks, and testbeds. These inlcude Internet2 in the US, the US Large Hadron Collider Network (US LHCnet), JGN in Japan, RNP in Brazil and many others. In 2012, two National Science Foundation-funded projects, DyGIR and DYNES, deployed another 20+ instances of OSCARS at university campuses. Wide-area Backbone Networks ESnet Internet2… Read More »
Supporting emerging innovations OSCARS is widely considered a pioneer in the development of Software Defined Networking (SDN), a generic term for the ability to quickly provision network connections on-the-fly, using software rather than manually configuring policies or equipment in the connections path. OSCARS is playing a vital role in the development of OpenFlow, a relatively new protocol that allows the path of network packets through the network of switches to be determined by software… Read More »
The Open Grid Forum, or OGF, is an open standards body that is composed of community-driven and community-lead working groups that strive to develop standards for distributed computing. One of the working groups within OGF's Infrastructure Area is the Network Service Interface Working Group (NSI-WG), which is primarily focused on defining application middleware to networks, and network to network service interfaces. The prior work and experiences with the Inter Domain Controller Protocol… Read More »
There are two interfaces provided by the IDC: a forms based web browser interface (WBUI) and a web services SOAP message interface (API). Both are secure interfaces and require the user to be registered and authorized by the ISP at which the reservation starts. Individual authorization at subsequent ISPs is not required. Both interfaces allow the user to make, query, list, modify and delete reservations. In addition, the WBUI allows an administrator to add, authorize, and manage users, and the… Read More »
Originally a research concept, OSCARS has grown into a robust production service that broadly impacts the scientific community. Currently, OSCARS circuits carry 50 percent of the Department of Energy’s annual 60 petabytes of science traffic, supporting fields including high energy physics, computational astrophysics, genomics, and climate research. Since OSCARS became a production ESnet service, approximately 5,000 virtual circuit reservations have been created for demos, transient… Read More »