Why is a multi-domain monitoring tool needed?

To meet the increasing challenges of international research collaboration
Thanks to the power of communications networks, researchers increasingly collaborate on a global basis, working with colleagues at the forefront of their specialisms in different parts of the world. The distances, and different countries and continents, mean that the research work is likely to be supported by several separate data networks working together to connect the different locations involved. This type of communication, known in the networking world as “multi-domain”, is technically challenging: the different, independently managed networks have to work together seamlessly to meet the researchers’ communications requirements. However, while problems in local network domains can be identified relatively easily, methods to track issues across multiple domains are limited and time-consuming.

The performance of the networks used by research teams is often crucial to the success of their collaborations or experiments. For example, a medical operation conducted by distance instruction from a pre-eminent specialist, is made possible if very high quality video images can be transmitted accurately, completely and with minimal delay between the operating theatre and the specialist.

Is perfSONAR MDM compatible with my existing single-domain monitoring tools?

perfSONAR is typically compatible with existing single-domain monitoring tools, plugging in on top of them seamlessly to provide multi-domain data in a standardised, universally-usable format. It is particularly valuable in multi-domain environments for monitoring network performance, as a troubleshooting tool, and also for passive monitoring, which allows the advertised performance of the network path to be verified. All of these facilities are of potential benefit to research users.




What is the value of network monitoring?

To maintain performance of the networks for users.
Given the importance of network performance to their successful usage, monitoring is an important element of the networker’s toolkit. Network monitoring tools are an essential facility for any network operator, but are often proprietary and normally provide data only for a single network. Performing monitoring in a multi-domain environment is difficult because the individual networks’ monitoring tools do not necessarily work readily together.

What is “perfSONAR” (without the MDM )?

perfSONAR is a protocol, architecture and set of tools which have been developed specifically to address the challenge of monitoring network performance in a multi-domain environment. 
It aims to provide an interoperable solution to resolve end-to-end performance issues on communications crossing over several networks and is the only known system capable of performing this. 
A joint collaboration between GEANT in Europe, Internet2 and ESnet in USA and RNP in Brazil; from which a set of services is being developed to deliver performance measurements across a federated environment, but that ensure interoperability between monitoring software tools and services. The collaborating organisations use the perfSONAR concept to develop their own service to their own requirements – perfSONAR MDM is GÉANT ’s such service.
Through DANTE, GÉANT is a member of the DICE collaboration which cooperates to develop network services that are interoperable between the members’ domains and beyond.

Where can I get technical support?

Technical support is offered by the GÉANT Multi-Domain Support Desk.  To request assistance please raise a ticket either by emailing directly to  or by calling +44 1480 484697.  Further information on the support available can be found on