GARR uses automation to speed network service delivery to Italy’s research and education institutions
Four million people across hundreds of Italian education, research, and cultural organizations rely on GARR for high-performance and advanced network services. To maintain its service excellence while meeting evolving user requirements, GARR is building an automated 40 Tbps nationwide network with Juniper.
Meet the advanced network needs of the Italian research and education community
The digital needs of GARR members — universities, research institutions, hospitals, cultural and arts organizations, and schools— were growing rapidly, and the GARR ICT team wanted a better, faster way to meet those requirements.
Automation was key to meeting GARR objective. A very small team runs a network that spans 17,500 kilometers and more than 1,000 locations. With such an expansive network, the tried-and-true approach of manually configuring and managing network devices was no longer practical. With user requirements rising, it was taking too long to deliver critical network services. GARR wanted to speed up network service delivery as well as to quickly reconfigure the network in case of security events.
As the target of multiple distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks a day, GARR needed to protect its network services and users from cyber disruption. With a manual approach to stopping attacks, which mostly last less than 30 minutes, it was becoming impossible for the network team to react quickly enough. Automated DDoS detection and mitigation was essential.
Automate network operations and mitigate cyberattacks
To meet the digital needs of Italy’s education, research, and cultural institutions, GARR is building a new network, which will have a final aggregated capacity of 40 Tbps, with the core backbone links based on multiple 400 Gbps links.
The 400-Gbps spine of the IP Clos fabric is comprised of Juniper PTX10001 and PTX10004 Packet Transport Routers. Juniper MX10003, MX480, and MX204 Universal Routing Platforms are used for the leaf and edge nodes to support data centers and the peering edge. The Juniper and Corero joint DDoS protection solution can mitigate even terabit-scale DDoS attacks in real time.
GARR uses the Juniper Paragon Automation Portfolio to automate network services as much as possible. It uses closed-loop automation to translate business intent into service performance, creating new and efficient ways of network operations. Workflows, software upgrades, device onboarding, inventory, network management, and configuration management are handled automatically to support GARR operations.
Enable education and scientific collaboration over a faster nationwide network
GARR network traffic volumes spiked 60% in 2020, as students shifted to video streaming university lectures and relied heavily on a cloud-based workplace and applications. Thirty-four new sites were connected, including universities, research centers, and medical institutions. The new network, designed to cope with sudden increases in bandwidth consumption, kept pace.
Service excellence continues to be a priority for GARR, and the redesigned network, with greater bandwidth availability and lower latency, will support its members’ education and research missions well into the future.
GARR network is also more operationally efficient and easier to manage for a lean ICT team tasked with meeting users’ evolving requirements.
Published October 2021