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Classification of technologies

OpenLab is a project that is targeting federation at multiple aspects. As such it integrates several testbeds, tools, control frameworks and networking technologies. An attempt to provide a classification is made, however the borders are sometimes not accurate. The following classes of technologies are embedded in Openlab.

OpenLab’s will make a major contribution by deepening the capabilities of its various testbeds, inherited from FIRE’s former OneLab [onelab.eu] and Panlab [panlab.net] initiatives as well as other valuable sources. OpenLab advances early FIRE prototypes that have proven their capabilities. OpenLab will associate and extend them, enhancing the value of the FIRE portfolio of facilities. OpenLab’s part of to that portfolio includes: PlanetLab Europe (PLE), with its 150 partner/user institutions across Europe; the NITOS and w-iLab.t wireless testbeds; two IMS telco testbeds for exploring merged media distribution; the GSN green networking testbed; the ETOMIC high precision network measurement testbed; and the HEN emulation testbed.

The diversity of experiments that users can perform extends from media distribution over wired and wireless (both data and future cellular protocols) to distributed and autonomous management of new social interactions and localized services, clearly going beyond what can be tested on the current internet. New monitoring tools will allow capture and reproduction of actual user motions. Extensions are planned to each of the wireless testbeds to allow greater interchange of experimental protocols from one testbed to another. We will integrate three of the wired testbeds using the OpenFlow protocol.

Combining these advanced infrastructures provides many examples of opportunity, with media distribution and localized services delivered to wireless clients perhaps capturing the most attention. As a result, our second major effort in OpenLab is to provide interoperability of these different services, allowing access and authorization to one to permit access to others, within the policies for usage and security required by each. Such common access methods form a control plane for the FIRE testbeds.
OpenLab will strengthen the current offering by constructing a standard set of experiment deployment procedures, or a federated experimental plane, through which resources can be described, found, and reserved or allocated immediately. This also will require implementing standards for the description of experimental configurations, for a real or simulated workload, and for the forms in which the resulting data will be logged, aggregated, analyzed, and archived. Monitoring tools are critical for understanding usability issues that affect new applications and will also give us a means of seeing how testbed utilization develops over time. For testbeds to be sustainable, they must evolve to meet new interests. Only sustained access to testbeds will permit the creation of long-running experimental services so that we can understand their strengths, their weaknesses and the degree to which they meet users’ expectations. This sustainability has been one of the strengths of PlanetLab and of PlanetLab Europe in recent years.

The generic control and experimental planes introduced above will also need to be instantiated and extended in each of the wireless and wired testbeds included in this project.  The chief tool we will employ for wireless is OMF (cOntrol and Management Framework), a framework that is used to control around 20 testbeds worldwide, including several in Europe. The tools will be expanded to support both controlled and uncontrolled experimental conditions. The wired testbeds in OpenLab allow innovation within both the telco and data network paradigms (IMS and IP protocols). The availability of OpenFlow protocols further enriches the mix of activities that can be supported and the depth into the networking stack to which experiments can probe or prototype. The Heterogeneous Experimental Network (HEN) in operation at UCL brings the two types of environments closer together. SFA (Slice-based Federation Architecture) will be deployed and extended as the envelope to federate the various technology-specific control and experiment planes.

OpenLab’s work in all these areas will be assessed at two interoperability testing events (also known as “bake-offs” or “plugfests”), that will be the occasions to see the extent to which the tools work across the testbeds.

OpenLab will lay important groundwork to make the eventual FIRE Facility a reality. It will participate in the FIRE effort and will be a strong contributor to FIRE and FIRESTATION. In addition, the technologies that OpenLab develops will be available for reuse in the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) for its Core Platform.