Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Julie Wernert
Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO

Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Indiana University establishes new center to foster network innovation through SDN technology

InCNTRE to take translational networking research full circle

May 11, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- For the first time in nearly two decades, IP networks are being opened to innovation by the broader networking community thanks to the advent of Software-Defined Networking (SDN). Today, Indiana University is announcing the formation of the Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE) to help advance the SDN approach to networking, and to catalyze researchers, students, and IT staff within the academic community to fully realize the opportunities for innovation enabled by SDN. InCNTRE seeks to increase the pace of network innovation by supporting the standardization and adoption of SDN technologies.

"This center will build collaborations among faculty, students, researchers, and the private sector to drive network innovation," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "It further strengthens the university's long-standing position as a national leader in advanced, high-performance computer networking, and we look forward to playing a central role in the evolution of the Internet infrastructure as we enter a period of potentially major transformation."

To aid in its mission of encouraging the adoption of SDN technologies, InCNTRE is building the SDN Interoperability Lab on its Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. This neutral, third party facility will test SDN products in a heterogeneous, multi-vendor environment. The SDN Interoperability Lab will work with the recently formed Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and its members to develop a common set of tests for verifying interoperability and to provide feedback for improving the interoperability of SDN implementations. Founding members and sponsors include Big Switch Networks, HP, NEC, and Panduit.

"A key factor to the success of SDN in general and OpenFlow in particular will be interoperability among vendor implementations," said Dan Pitt, executive director of ONF. "The ONF looks forward to working with the InCNTRE to support a successful interoperability program for OpenFlow and SDN at Indiana University."

OpenFlow enables SDN platforms to increase control and flexibility when allocating resources and forwarding traffic on networks. As a result, network operators gain better control over their networks, customizing and optimizing based upon users' needs. In addition, OpenFlow enables network researchers to test new ideas at scale and on production networking switches.

"SDN is a promising new approach that allows continuous Internet innovation by network operators, vendors, third parties, and researchers. With SDN, researchers will be able to experiment with their ideas at scale with real users and traffic in a production setting," said Guru Parulkar, executive director of the Clean Slate Project at Stanford University. "The level of real-world networking expertise IU can bring to networking research and education is very valuable and we're excited to see IU increase their focus on these activities through the creation of InCNTRE."

In addition to building the SDN Interoperability Lab, InCNTRE is developing an internship program to provide hands-on experience with network technologies, including SDN, to undergraduate and graduate students. InCNTRE is also partnering with network researchers and networking vendors to pursue research into innovative new ideas to improve how networks operate.

InCNTRE complements Indiana University's recently announced partnership with Internet2 and Stanford University's Clean Slate Project to launch the Network Design and Development Initiative (NDDI) that intends to build and operate a nationwide common infrastructure that can create multiple virtual networks, allowing researchers to experiment with new Internet protocols and architectures leveraging SDN technology. NDDI will serve as the basis of a new Open Science, Scholarship, and Services Exchange (OS3E) that will enable domain scientists to accelerate their research with collaborators worldwide.

"Indiana University has a long history of designing and managing cutting-edge, high-performance research and education networks, which has led to the development of outstanding expertise in networking and strong partnerships with networking researchers, educators, and vendors," said InCNTRE Director and IU Chief Network Architect Matt Davy. "InCNTRE allows IU to focus its networking expertise and partnerships to benefit the broader networking community by serving as a flywheel in the cycle of teaching, research, and network operations."

For more information about InCNTRE, visit:

About Indiana University
In addition to providing its students one of the nation's best and most advanced computing, networking, and technology support environments, Indiana University is a leader in the development and application of information technology through the management of state, national, and international research networks; participation in such high performance computing initiatives as the National Science Foundation's TeraGrid and FutureGrid; partnerships with other top-tier universities on open source software development; and nationally recognized leadership in cybersecurity.

About the GlobalNOC at Indiana University
The GlobalNOC at Indiana University provides 24x7x365 professional network support for some of the most advanced research and education networks in the country. Beginning with its support of Internet2's Abilene network, now known as Internet2 Network, the GlobalNOC has since expanded with the community to support the TransPac2 network, National LambdaRail (NLR), the MANLAN research exchange point in New York City, Indiana's I-Light, The Indiana GigaPoP, the TeraGrid's IPGrid network, and the CIC OmniPoP in Chicago, among others. For more information, visit:

About the Open Networking Foundation
The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a nonprofit, mutual benefit trade organization organized under Section 501(c)(6) of the US Internal Revenue code. ONF's mission is to promote the development and use of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies, including OpenFlow, to allow networks to improve more quickly. SDN enables rapid innovation because it allows network owners and operators to optimize the network for their users' needs. To learn more or become a member of the ONF please visit:

About the Clean Slate Program at Stanford University
The Clean Slate Program seeks to reinvent Internet infrastructure and services by creating "platforms for innovations" in networking, computing, and storage and making them available to research and user communities with emphasis on mobile computing.