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From Google to LBNL: Meet Tony Ferrelli, ESnet's New Director of Networking

December 17, 2019

Contact: Keri Troutman, khtroutman@lbl.gov, 510-486-5071

TonyFerrelliTony Ferrelli, ESnet’s new director of Networking, has been running networks for 20 years. After the past 11 years at Google, he was ready for a new challenge—and heading the network engineering and operations team for the ESnet6 project presented an exciting opportunity.

ESnet6 will be a boon for scientific collaborations by carrying the growing amount of data produced by scientific instruments to researchers at 50 Department of Energy research sites, including the entire National Laboratory system and its supercomputing facilities. The network will provide more bandwidth, greater flexibility, and faster data transfer capabilities.

“I really like the way that Berkeley Lab approaches a project,” says Ferrelli. “As a partnership, not just with the national labs with which we interconnect, but also with the people doing the research.”

Ferrelli sees his role focused on building and augmenting the existing ESnet network and engineering team so that ESnet can effectively scale to the bigger ESnet6 network. 

“I want to make sure we start thinking automation first, especially as networks grow and become more complex because traditionally in network engineering there’s a lot of bespoke configuration just doesn’t scale,” he says. “With automation, you are changing the landscape by focusing on remaining consistent and modeling the network so that a person doesn’t have to log in and configure every individual  device.”

With an intent-driven network like ESnet6, engineers have to be very deliberate when it comes to network customization. "It's important as we grow and scale, that we balance innovation and stability for our users."

For now, Ferrelli says he’s focusing on meeting with the existing ESnet team to get a thorough sense of what’s working and making sure the team has the right balance of resources to meet the ESnet6 deadline.

In his spare time, Ferrelli enjoys travel and good food—cooking it and eating it. He will be looking into relocating to the East Bay from San Francisco with his wife and his husky, Soho, in the near future and looks forward to exploring this side of the Bay. 


About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Computing Sciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing Department of Energy Office of Science research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials, and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world, and our universe.

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.