Programmability in RINA for European Supremacy of Virtualised Networks



The Internet as the global communications infrastructure has been successful in shaping the modern world by the way we access and exchange information. The Internet architecture designed in the 1960's has been supporting a variety of applications and offering a number of services till now but emerging applications demand better quality, programmability, resilience and protection. Any alterations to the Internet architecture have become restricted to simple incremental updates and plug-ins instead of radical changes by introducing new solutions. 

RINA is an emerging clean-slate programmable networking approach, centring on Inter-Process Communication (IPC) paradigm, which will support high scalability, multi-homing, built-in security, seamless access to real-time information and 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 organizing structure, grouping together application processes that provide IPC services and are configured under the same policies. Virtualization is a fundamental attribute of the architecture itself. Based on the above fundamental aspect, PRISTINE intends to:

  • Design and implement the innovative internals of this clean-slate architecture that include the programmable functions for: security of content and application processes, supporting QoS and congestion control in aggregated levels, providing protection and resilience, facilitating more efficient topological routing, and multi-layer management for handling configuration, performance and security.
  • Demonstrate the applicability and benefits of this approach and its built-in functions in three use-cases driven by the service providers and vendors in the consortium. This will ensure that the applications and tools we develop will be deployable by providers.

PRISTINE will use the RINA prototype over Ethernet and IP for the Linux and FreeBSD operating systems as its initial baseline. This prototype is under active development by the FP7 IRATI project. Most of the partners of IRATI (i2CAT, Nextworks and iMinds) are also partners of PRISTINE, therefore the project anticipates a smooth collaboration between both projects regarding the prototyping work. WP2 will take the prototype and perform two main activities: design and develop a Software Development Kit and a simulator (these are two pieces of separate work). The SDK will modularize the baseline prototype and add all the required infrastructure to enable different modules to be plugged in and out, thus allowing other developers to program the software without having to know about its internals. The simulator will be a complement to the prototype, since it will enable researchers and developers to obtain an idea of how their add-ons will work at a very large scale.

Work Packages 3, 4 and 5 will take the prototype with the SDK and the simulator, and use the tools to produce software modules to be plugged into the prototype, for each different use case. WP3 will design and develop components to deal with congestion control, distributed resource allocation and topological addressing. WP4 will design and develop modules that take care of authentication, access control, encryption, security coordination and reliability. WP5 will deal with multi-layer management modules for configuration, performance and security management. Each WP will use a dedicated facility, contributed by the partners, in order to test and verify the developed software at the component level. Furthermore, these work packages will use the simulator in order to figure out how the developed modules would behave at large scale, incorporating the feedback into their designs and adapting the modules where necessary to enhance their behavior at scale.

WP6 will take the different components developed by WPs 3, 4, 5 and integrate them on a use-case by use-case basis. The end result will be three integrated solutions, one for each use case: Distributed cloud, Datacenter Networking and Network Service Provider. All the solutions will be using the same base software (the PRISTINE baseline prototype), but with different components plugged in the baseline prototype through the SDK; showcasing the programmability and adaptability achieved by PRISTINE results.

01/2014 to 06/2016
3.337.000 €, FP7 ICT call 11 (2013)
5.034.966 €