WP3 - Network Virtualisation (VNet)

One of the basic tenets of 4WARD is that the Future Internet shall allow multiple networking solutions to coexist, not only in the link and the application layer as in the Internet today, but also in the network and transport layers. Network Virtualisation is ideally suited to allow the coexistence of different network architectures, legacy systems included. Virtualisation is thus not only an enabler for the coexistence of multiple, possibly revolutionary, architectures, but also provides a smooth path for the migration towards more evolutionary approaches. This way, virtualisation can help to keep the Internet evolvable and innovation-friendly, particularly since it can mitigate the need to create broad consensus regarding the deployment of new technologies among the multitude of stake holders that make up today’s Internet. By decoupling the infrastructure from the services, virtualisation can provide the opportunity to roll out new architectures, protocols, and services without going through the slow and difficult process of creating such consensus.

Virtualisation further provides a general approach for network service providers to share a common physical infrastructure. This is particularly beneficial in network domains where the deployment costs per user are predominant and an encumbrance for frequent technology replacement as is the case for instance in access networks.

The goal of VNet is to develop a systematic and general approach to network virtualisation. The problem space is divided into three main areas:

1) Virtualisation of Network Resources: While the virtualisation of some types of resources, such as servers and links, is well known and already widely used today, we aim for a generalised approach that allows the use of a broad variety of resources as part of a unified virtualisation framework. Virtualisation of both wireless and wireline resources will be studied. The performance of shared resources and the secure separation of virtual networks sharing a resource will be important issues. The secure, flexible, and efficient exploitation of wireless spectrum and access infrastructure is expected to significantly improve cost-efficiency and utilisation of expensive wireless infrastructures. To allow for the integration of a variety of resources into the common framework, VNet aims to develop standardised interfaces for management and control of the virtualised resources.

2) Provisioning of Virtual Networks: Based on a substrate of virtualised network resources, and using their control and management interfaces, VNet aims to develop a systematic approach to instantiating complete virtual networks using the virtual resources, allowing the on-demand deployment of new virtual networks on a potentially large scale. The virtualisation framework includes the discovery of available physical and virtual resources, as well as the scalable provisioning, control, and aggregation of resources to form complete networks.

3) Virtualisation Management: Once a virtual network has been instantiated, management mechanisms are required to deal with the virtual resources it is based upon. These mechanisms should support the deployment, control, and dynamic re-allocation of resources on demand during the lifetime of the virtual network. A particular challenge is the dynamic management of volatile and mobile resources that may enter or leave the virtual network at any time.

Research areas

External Links

4WARD Blogs

RSS Feeds

Search This Site