Community News

Continued NOC operations in the face of a pandemic

On 25 March the 11th SIG-NOC meeting brought the community together in an extraordinary two-hour online session, to share concerns, common problems and experiences around the COVID-19 crisis from the Network Operation Centres’ perspective.

Six speakers from GÉANT and NREN NOCs, participating mostly from their homes, shared the situation in their countries and organisations, answering some common questions about the decision processes around social distancing, the challenges they faced, the changes in the demand of services and the solutions adopted for communication and incident resolution.

Alessandro Inzerilli,GARR, Italy, the first NREN impacted by COVID-19 in Europe, explained how they have been dealing with the crisis started in February. Szymon Trocha, PSNC, Poland, followed with some curious facts such as the usage of thermal cameras to monitor body temperatures. Jonny Lundin, SUNET, Sweden, presenting from the office in Stockholm where the situation seems to be a few weeks behind the rest of Europe, answered questions highlighting that the local focus has been on media services capacity upgrades in order to meet the exponential growth in demand. He also stressed the importance of continuous communication of the status of network and services. Tony Barber, Head of the GÉANT NOC, UK, explained how the NOC is coping with the current crisis, focusing on the crisis management processes and the side effects it is causing. Sadi Koçak, SURFnet, Netherlands, gave a different point of view for the same concerns, highlighting how traffic patterns have changed, but not for research projects. Finally, Jože Hanc, ARNES, Slovenia, explained how the enorous jump in Moodle users forced them to rebuild the service over a weekend.

Maria Isabel Gandia, CSUC, Spain, led a discussion which saw the active participation of the 48 attendees from 23 different institutions and 19 countries, through Mentimeter, the chat room and the video conference facility. During the entire session, participants talked about the human and technical sides of the challenges we face and the priority on the safety and health of people. Key discussion points comprised: trust, communication, quick decision making, flexibility and resilience.

It was also clear that new ways and tools for communication have recently become more relevant than ever, with more remote and informal team meetings and a high demand of on-line tools. The balance and mix between childcare and work was also mentioned several times and tangibly experienced during the session, as many participants are currently at home with their families and children.

The changes in traffic patterns and the demand for services was identified as a common situation, with increased traffic from institutions to commercial providers, usage of multimedia tools and traffic exchange.

In conclusion, although countries are at different stages of the COVID-19 crisis, the issues experienced are similar and it was very helpful to be able to share concerns and facts.

The presentations and the Mentimeter results are available on the 11th SIG-NOC Meeting page . The session’s recording is available on demand for members of the SIG-NOC community and has already been shared with colleagues around the globe.

For more information about SIG-NOC, click here.