perfSONAR can be deployed in a number of ways to best suit the needs of the operator. As a beacon, perfSONAR provides value to others around the world. Simply deploying perfSONAR, providing basic configuration to identify the resource, and allowing others to test to the node in an open and unencumbered manner provides significant value. Backbone providers, regional networks, national networks, and large campuses routinely follow this deployment pattern as a service to their customers. End sites can then create dashboard applications, and incorporate the downstream node into their test sets.

perfSONAR functions as a “measurement island” in the default case, and allows the operator to configure tests to other measurement points around the world. Using the built in directory services, locating nodes in other domains is a trivial exercise done with a few clicks. Once configured, built-in graphs are available to show performance over time.

perfSONAR can be used to create a grouping of tests, more commonly known as a “mesh”. A shared configuration file written in the JSON format can be created with a graphical tool, and published for other hosts to download. Each host then creates a set of tests to the other members of the mesh based on the configuration. Data can be stored on each machine, or pushed to a central server running a dashboard application. This model is used by networking providers to show performance characteristics between points of presence, as well as by virtual organizations to understand performance between participating locations.