Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2017 - 36

flexibility in the underlying network control and management.
Both academic and industrial SDN researchers are carrying
out substantial research and development on the FI worldwide using these large-scale test-bed infrastructures [2].
These efforts focus on the integration of networks, compute,
and other resources using increasingly intelligent solutions.
This federation of network islands results in a software-defined
infrastructure (SDI) that mimics the real-world environment
for testing large-scale, innovative network ap--plications, algorithms, protocols, or network functions. Researchers use
common interfaces and workflows in a federation, which
abstracts different internal infrastructures, resources, and
procedures to facilitate the execution of experiments. However, a federation of open, heterogeneous test beds is nontrivial and requires an appropriately intelligent architecture
and framework.
The Federated Test Beds for Large-Scale Infrastructure
Experiments (FELIX) [3] project was a three-year, 302-people-per-month, Europe-Japan research collaboration with
the goal of allowing users to build their own virtual slices
using resources of remote FI facilities. It addressed the challenge of federating globally dispersed resources by extending and advancing concepts defined in the Slice-Based
Federation Architecture (SFA) [4] and implemented by
Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) [5].
The FELIX architecture was modular by design to maintain
a vendor-agnostic view of resources and to facilitate the
addition of new network islands. In particular, FELIX used a
combination of recursive and hierarchical configurations
for orchestration, request delegation, and interdomain de--
pendency management. Resource orchestrating entities are
responsible for the synchronization of a- vailable resources
between administrative domains.
This article summarizes the development of an SDI that
includes not only networks, but also compute resources
and monitoring. To our knowledge, this article is the first
actualization of SDI using a generalized architecture for
the creation of future intelligent infrastructures. We also
present use cases that validated the FELIX framework and
provided insights in the establishment of a transcontinental SDI between Japan and Europe.

FELIX
Management
Stack

MS
CRM

User Portal
RO
SDNRM SERM

SDI Architecture
Generally, FELIX resources were available at geographically dispersed facilities under the administrative control of different but cooperating (i.e., federated)
stakeholders. This is unique from cases where a single
administrative domain has globally distributed resources or loosely interconnected network domains that allow
remote access to certain resources. Connecting facilities
at the continental and intercontinental scale, such as in
FELIX, is not a trivial task [6]. We integrated SDN test
beds with network service interface (NSI)-controlled [7]
transit domains using connection services (NSI-CS) to
solve the dynamic establishment and teardown of network connectivity [based on Layer 2 (L2) switching and
Layer 3+ (L3+) flow routing/forwarding] across multiple
domains and technologies. The NSI is a provider-to-provider web service protocol that allows heterogeneous
multidomain connection services to be requested and
established. The FELIX application programming interfaces (APIs) and logic capitalized on SDN and NSI protocols to facilitate the dynamic, on-demand establishment
of virtual network infrastructures in an end-to-end network-based service.
As shown in Figure 1, the FELIX SDI facility was based
on SDN-controlled network domains or islands comprising
both virtualized network and computing resources under a
single administrative ownership. These islands can contain multiple SDN zones controlled by dedicated software
and exposed interfaces for the federated framework [8].
Transit network domains using NSI-compatible network
controllers and the NSIv2.0 standard interface exposed
control of the network connectivity services between
domains. A key concept in FELIX was slice abstraction
from the SFA [4], which is a user-defined, dynamically
extensible subset of virtual networking and computing
resources isolated from other slices running simultaneously on the same physical resources. This served to standardize resource provisioning for slice creation in a
federated, heterogeneous test bed.
A number of individual modules in the FELIX management stack controlled the SDI architecture, as illustrated

AAA
TNRM

AAA
TNRM

User Portal
RO
SERM SDNRM

Stitching
Entity

SDN
Resources

MS
CRM

Physical
Resources
Comprising
a Slice
Compute
Resources

SDN
Resources

Stitching
Entity

NSI-Enabled
Transit Network

Compute
Resources

Figure 1. An overall view of the FELIX federated framework, including RMs, physical resources, and network links.

AAA: authentication, authorization, and accounting. MS: monitoring system; CRM: compute resource manager;
SDNRM: software defined network resource manager; SERM: stitching entity resource manager.

36	

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE Oc tob e r 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2017

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2017 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2017 - Cover2
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2017 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2017 - Cover4
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