23 May 2016

In-Network Programmability for next-generation personal cloUd service support (INPUT)

INPUT (www.input-project.eu) is a research project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program which aims at designing a novel SDN/NFV platform to support the Future Internet personal cloud services in a more scalable and sustainable way, with innovative added-value capabilities and much closer to the end-users, by exploiting and fostering upcoming in-network fog computing technologies.

Interestingly, INPUT technologies aims at enabling next-generation cloud applications to go beyond classical service models (i.e., IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), and even to replace physical smart devices, usually placed in users’ homes (e.g., network-attached storage servers, set-top-boxes, video recorders, home automation control units, etc.) or deployed around for monitoring purposes (e.g., sensors), with their “virtual images,” providing them to users “as a Service.”
Main objectives includes:

  • introducing computing and storage capabilities to edge network devices (i.e. the “in-network” programmability) in order to allow users/telecom operators to create/manage private clouds “in the network”;
  • moving cloud services closer to end-users and smart devices, in order both to avoid pointless network infrastructure and datacenter overloading, and to provide lower latency reactiveness to services;
  • enabling personal and federated cloud services to natively and directly integrate themselves with the networking technologies close to end-user SDs to provide new service models (e.g., Personal Networks).
  • assessing the validity of the proposed in-network cloud computing model through appropriately designed use cases and related proof-of-concept implementations.

INPUT is fostering future-proof Internet infrastructures that will be “smarter,” fully virtualized, power vs. performance optimized, and vertically integrated with cloud computing, with a clear impact on operating and capital expenses of Telecoms, of service providers, and of end-users. In this respect, INPUT will extend the programmability of network devices and in-network fog resources to make them able to host cloud applications, which will cooperate with those in users’ terminals and datacenters to realize the cloud services. Specific solutions based on state-of-the-art cloud and SDN APIs and protocols are going to be exploited and extended for providing suitable interfaces to manage and to autonomically drive such ecosystem according to different players, such as fog service providers/tenants, infrastructure providers and end-users.

Regarding advancements on NFV, INPUT is focusing on specific solutions for:
  • making the migration of network function much lighter and smoother than the migration mechanisms provided today from virtual machine and container hypervisors;
  • a radically new virtual home-gateway, which will be powered by a modular chain of open-source and DPDK-based Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), and an OpenWRT control/user plane;
  • Proposing paradigms for the flexible offload of modular VNFs to hardware accelerators available into network or IT hardware (e.g., Systems on Chip).

Currently, the project is reaching the half of its life time and it is going to release the first version of the main components of the platform as an open-source modules. Additional details or information about the INPUT can be found in the project website www.input-project.eu, on the LinkedIN group or following the Twitter account @INPUT_Proj.