Process & template adaptations for R&E organizations

ESnet regularly collaborates with multiple organizations and entities outside of the DOE complex for the purpose of supporting science and research on a global scale. Gathering network requirements from researchers at universities and collaborating organizations around the world is key to building and supporting the infrastructure researchers rely upon to advance their rates of discovery.

Just as the ESnet Requirements Review Program for the DOE Office of Science has evolved to keep pace with scientific disciplines, various universities and regional networks have adapted a similar practice, tailored for their own environment and organizational goals.

Detailed information on Network Requirements Gathering used for other R&E networks, including sample templates, agendas, and reports, can be found here.

Case studies

ESnet has found that a "case study" format is an effective vehicle for capturing the network requirements of the science programs that ESnet serves. The case study is a network-centric narrative describing the science from two different perspectives - instruments and facilities and the process of science. When combined, these two viewpoints provide a clearer picture of network requirements than either view could provide alone. These two views are described across three timelines:

  • Near term (0-2 years, or current budget horizon)
  • Medium term (2-5 years, or current technology horizon)
  • Long term (5+ years, strategic plans, new facilities, new experiments, etc.)

The Instruments and Facilities view describes the "hardware" used to collect the data used for the science or research. Instruments and facilities can be supercomputers, sensors, imaging devices, sequencing equipment, etc. The main idea is that this view exists to enumerate the sources of data, the quantity of data, the location of the data, and how this will change over time. The Process of Science/Research view describes the ways in which the data produced by the instruments and facilities are used by the scientists. For example, data may be transferred to a different institution in order to be analyzed, or there may be a need to process a data set within a certain amount of time. It may be that data must be distributed throughout the world.

A case study document with a table containing a network-centric discussion of their science, from an Instruments and Facilities view as well as a Process of Science view should be completed for each researcher or research team. Often, it is helpful to ensure the research team has access to necessary expertise in order to complete the case study ahead of the Requirements Review discussion. Expertise may include their departmental IT team, the university's networking team, etc. In addition, it is important to include a discussion of needs for collaboration technologies or other network services, if any. Also discuss needs and issues surrounding middleware, workflow tools, data transfer tools (e.g. Globus, SRM/BeStMAN, etc) and future needs/plans for these tools. If there are outstanding issues, make sure to enumerate them so they can be discussed at the review.