This page contains support information about perfSONAR. For a general overview of perfSONAR please go to our services section.
How does perfSONAR work?
PerfSONAR works by installing a selection of monitoring tools to a local server that you have complete control over, performing basic configuration, and then picking the endpoints that others have already deployed to be used in test cases.
In doing so, each site gains a deeper understanding of the performance they can expect to reach others around the world, and in turn can then translate these measurements into an expectation for other activities such as data mobility.
The resulting monitoring data can be integrated into visualisations, create alarms, or serve as a basis for providing network status to intelligent applications that use SDN.
Why use perfSONAR?
PerfSONAR is used on 1000s of networks, representing more than 300 domains, around the world. It is recommended by funding bodies and Virtual Organizations (VO's) as a federated and scalable solution to determining network performance.
There are many things that network engineers and users cannot see due to the nature of network design and protocols. For instance applications that are based on TCP will function even if there are problems in the underlying technology that are causing data loss or transmission errors. PerfSONAR exposes the underlying behaviour of the network by providing verifiable evidence of common network problems, and is able to help isolate and aide in the correction.
PerfSONAR is a mature development effort born of the R&E networking community that is only successful because of the interest and effort invested by its core partners and key stakeholders.
Who uses perfSONAR?
PerfSONAR is an integral part of the cyber-infrastructure for a scientific facility, campus, laboratory, network provider, or exchange point. PerfSONAR provides crucial information on network performance between facilities - an area that traditional monitoring solutions cannot address. Collaboration is inherently a cross-domain activity, and ensuring this works for organisational stakeholders means having perfSONAR deployed, and used, to provide network reliability information.
Ensuring that networks are functioning in an optimal manner is critical for network engineers. Traditional passive monitoring tools, such as SNMP, provide crucial insight into availability of resources but cannot deliver a notion of end-to-end performance that stretches past a single domain. Deploying perfSONAR in key locations of your network, such as where demarcations occur with other domains, provides insight into active traffic patterns and helps to pinpoint trouble areas.
Networks are critical part of world, and most people interact with them on a daily basis, perhaps without realising or caring about lower level details. If problems are experienced, e.g. expectations of speed or quality are not realised, we often "blame the network" for not behaving as it should. PerfSONAR gives visibility into network performance, and helps to isolate where "slowness" can be found, and helps to find and amicable solution for the benefit of all.
Organised activities between distributed groups of users rely on stable, well-maintained network infrastructure. Groupings of scientists, performers, or policy makers, have a critical reliance on network infrastructure to facilitate knowledge transfer, audio and video transmission, or real time data mobility. VOs using perfSONAR have invested time and effort to create meaningful simulations of network activities. With this data, they can communicate with providers to ensure that things are operating as they would expect, or judge if certain activities will or will not be possible. PerfSONAR provides deeper insight into network use cases than is possible with traditional monitoring tools.
Software & service developers
PerfSONAR is middle-ware between network monitoring tools and higher level services such as visualisations and workflow managers. Using perfSONAR APIs, it is possible to unlock data gathered from 1000s of networks, and design more intelligent "above the network" services. Developers of lower level measurement and monitoring tools can use similar APIs to facilitate the deployment, sharing, and location of new products.
PerfSONAR data, gathered from numerous locations around the world, can provide untapped knowledge related to the performance of networks. Using a set of APIs, it is possible to retrieve and study this data, further advancing the understanding of computer and information sciences.
Check out the PerfSONAR contributors.
For more information on perfSONAR and using it on your network, please contact the REANNZ engagement team.