Clean and fresh approach to programmability for virtualised networks 7

In the last few years “Software Defined Networking” (SDN) has come to the fore, with its proposed total decoupling between the decisions made about where traffic is sent (the Control plane) and the underlying system that forwards the traffic to its selected destination (the Data plane).

Network service providers have also been exploring different ways to bring the advantages of virtualised infrastructures (abstraction, resiliency, cost efficiency, re-usability) into network operations. This is to address the high cost of networks in terms of CAPEX and OPEX (including energy consumption) to achieve a certain level of performance.

As a result of this, the industry has gathered around SDN & NFV (Network Function Virtualisation) to define a common model for achieving virtualised networks.

Our project PRISTINE is taking a clean and fresh approach to these problems by returning to the foundational essence of networking, that is a revolutionary approach based on RINA, as we believe that the current re-engineering approach is maintaining the inherent limitations of the current 40 year old Internet. In taking the revolutionary approach PRISTINE takes up the challenge of a forward looking network architecture as it integrates communication, computing and storage resources in order to support cloud computing, networked data processing and limited resources of smart client devices.

RINA is an emerging clean-slate programmable networking approach, centring on the Inter-Process Communication (IPC) paradigm, which supports high scalability, multi-homing, built-in security, seamless access to real-time information and facilitates operation in dynamic environments.

The heart of this networking structure is naturally formed and organised by blocks of containers called “Distributed Information Facilities – DIFs” where each block has programmable functions to be attributed to as they required. A DIF is seen as an organising structure, grouping together application processes that provide IPC services and are configured under the same policies.

PRISTINE will use RINA to develop practical, demonstrable, and commercially exploitable solutions to the market segments of network infrastructure (switching, controllers), cloud virtualisation & control layer, and network virtualisation services, which as a whole will benefit network service providers, cloud service providers, and enterprise data centres.

The PRISTINE project will not be starting its development of a RINA prototype from scratch. The project will build on the prototype of RINA over Ethernet and IP, which has been developed by the FP7 IRATI project. The objectives of PRISTINE are very complementary to those of IRATI, with IRATI placing more of a focus on developing a basic RINA implementation.

PRISTINE is an EU funded project, under the FP7 research programme for Future Networks. It will design and implement programmable management functions for networks:

  • supporting QoS and congestion control in aggregated levels,
  • facilitating more efficient topological routing,
  • security of content and application processes,
  • providing protection and resilience,
  • unified multi-layer RINA stack management framework for handling network layer configuration, performance and security.