Q-Factor is a framework to enable data transfer optimization based on real-time network state information provided by programmable data planes. Communication networks are critical components of today’s scientific workflows. Researchers leverage long-distance ultra-high-speed networks to transfer massive data sets from acquisition sites to processing sites and share measurements with scientists worldwide. However, while network bandwidth is continuously increasing, most data transfers are unable to efficiently utilize the added capacity due to inherent limitations of parameter settings of the network transport protocols and the lack of network state information at the end hosts. To address these challenges, Q-Factor plans to use sub-second network state data to dynamically configure current transport protocol and operating systems parameters to reach higher network utilization and, as a result, to improve scientific workflows. Q-Factor leverages programmable network devices with the In-band Network Telemetry (INT) framework and delivers a software solution to process in-band measurements at the end hosts. Using Q-Factor on end hots, for instance Data Transfer Nodes (DTN)s, TCP/IP parameters will be configured according to temporal network characteristics, such as round-trip time, network utilization, and network buffer occupancy. This tuning is expected to increase network utilization, shorter flow completion times, and significantly reduce packet drops caused by under-provisioned network buffers. Q-Factor is a collaboration between Florida International University and Energy Science Network.
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