New Consortium MetrANOVA to Create a Measurement and Analysis Toolbox for Research and Education Networks Worldwide

Founding members ESnet, GÉANT, Indiana University, Internet2, and Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) seek additional participants

February 27, 2024

By Bonnie Powell,

Map of global R&E networks

A partial snapshot of the global web of R&E networks: MetrANOVA seeks to develop shared network measurement and analysis tools, tactics, and techniques with the ultimate goal of accelerating scientific research everywhere. (Full image: Global Lambda Integrated Facility 2017 visualization; more information.)

Five of the world’s leading research and education (R&E) networking organizations have joined forces to form MetrANOVA, a consortium for Advancing Network Observation, Visualization, and Analysis. Together, founding members Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), GÉANT, GlobalNOC at Indiana University, Internet2, and Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) operate and connect a dizzying number of national, regional, and local R&E networks — yet representing a portion of the decentralized fabric linking scientific researchers in hundreds of countries worldwide. The R&E networking community provides a network of networks, the design and operation of which have historically been loosely coupled yet coordinated and present some challenges to overcome.

Metranova logo with partner logos

“To ensure we are designing and operating networks that best serve our shared purpose — accelerating scientific research — we need a greater understanding of the whole system,” said Edward Balas, MetrANOVA lead and head of ESnet’s Measurement & Analysis group. “MetrANOVA was formed to develop and disseminate common network measurement and analysis tools, tactics, and techniques. We hope these will help member organizations and the broader R&E community better understand the structure, use, and performance of this complex, multidomain global web by using interoperable software, appropriate data-sharing techniques, and composable design patterns. Working together will allow us to do so more sustainably — by reducing duplication of effort and allowing issues to be identified and resolved more quickly — and innovatively, by harnessing the creative brain power across our human networks.” 

Network measurement has long been a core competency of the R&E community, but to do it well requires expertise and technical capabilities that can be hard to acquire, inhibiting optimal design and operation of these networks. 

“Research is a global undertaking, and it is therefore vital that researchers wherever they are located have access to data and resources with the highest possible performance. Only by building and supporting high-performance research networks can we remove geographical boundaries to academia. As part of this, being able to monitor network performance is an essential component of R&E networking,” said Ivana Golub, Network Development Lead, GÉANT.

The founding consortium members have each developed compelling network measurement tools, and all founding members have actively contributed to the perfSONAR consortium, using it to actively measure end-to-end performance and identify impairments.

“MetrANOVA can potentially realize a vision that the NetSage measurement and monitoring project has had for more than ten years — a shared approach that helps raise all the boats," stated Nathaniel Mendoza, TACC Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). "We're all looking at the same problem from different viewpoints, and MetrANOVA has the potential to bring us all together."

While these previous efforts successfully addressed individual organizations’ measurement challenges and needs, MetrANOVA aspires to meet the network measurement needs of the whole of the R&E networking community, building on what members have learned from past efforts. Additionally, open-source components have proliferated within the broader industry that enable state-of-the-art network measurement and analysis, such as Grafana, Kafka, OpenSearch, and PMacct, which would benefit from close evaluation and recommendation. MetrANOVA will focus on determining how to create and use a general-purpose,  multi-data-source measurement and analysis environment to improve the design and operation of R&E networks. 

This broad scope is by design. "Over the past few years, all of the participating organizations have built their own resilient, effective time series systems, driven by their own particular requirements, expertise, and use cases, using different balances of internal development and integration of existing software components," said David Ripley, Director of Software and Systems Engineering at GlobalNOC. "MetrANOVA is an opportunity for us to come together, combine our expertise, see how the network measurement landscape has shifted, and work collectively to come up with a universal combination of software components, deployment architectures, and operational practices that are generic enough to meet common community requirements and flexible enough to adapt to even the most niche use cases."

MetrANOVA will be supported by an inclusive participation model that provides options for both organizations that can commit dedicated resources and opportunities for those who wish to contribute individually or on a best-effort basis. The consortium seeks diverse participants with a range of skills.

“MetrANOVA reflects and reinforces a uniquely R&E community mindset: We care deeply about the shared value our network fabric provides to researchers, educators, and learners,” said James Deaton, Internet2 vice president of Network Services. “Through the consortium, we are eager to work together to reveal greater performance insights with new cost-effective, common methods for observing, visualizing, and analyzing. But even beyond development efforts, MetrANOVA is poised to open doors for meaningful engagement, bringing together new perspectives to solve long-standing challenges that span network edges and institutional boundaries.”

To learn more about MetrANOVA, attend the March 5 session, “Introducing MetrANOVA: A neutral, trusted, and open consortium for Advancing Network Observation, Visualization,  and Analysis,” at the 2024 Internet2 Community Exchange (CommEX24) in Chicago, or its reprise at the GÉANT-sponsored TNC24 conference on June 12 in Rennes, France. 


About ESnet

The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-performance, unclassified network built to support and facilitate large-scale scientific research across America and around the world. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ESnet connects DOE’s national laboratory system, supercomputing facilities, and major scientific instruments, as well as peers with more than 270 R&E and commercial networks for global collaboration on the world’s biggest scientific challenges. ESnet’s vision is that scientific progress will be completely unconstrained by the physical location of instruments, people, computational resources, or data.

GÉANT ( is the collaboration of European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). Together we deliver an information ecosystem of infrastructure and services to advance research, education, and innovation on a global scale. The GÉANT project combines a high-bandwidth, high-capacity network with a growing range of services. These allow researchers to collaborate, working together wherever they are located. Together with European NRENs, GÉANT connects 50 million users in over 10,000 institutions. 

About The GlobalNOC at Indiana University

GlobalNOC provides world-class, carrier-grade support in network monitoring, engineering, and software development services to the research, education, government, and public good communities. Since its inception in 1998, GlobalNOC has grown to support more than 20 networks at global, national, regional, metro, and campus scales. GlobalNOC’s supported networks include Internet2’s national R&E network, NOAA’s enterprise networks, International Networks at IU, and numerous state and local networks.

About Internet2

Internet2® is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 delivers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions that leverages, integrates, and amplifies the strengths of its members and helps support their educational, research, and community service missions. Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network that was built to deliver advanced, customized services that are accessed and secured by the community-developed trust and identity framework.

About Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) 

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is one of the leading academic advanced computing centers in the United States. Since its founding in 2001, TACC has been committed to facilitating open science research across a robust ecosystem of advanced computing resources, truly powering discoveries that change the world.