Testbeds-as-a-service to help researchers design networks

By Torben B. Sørensen , 11/12/15
GÉANT Testbeds Service allows researchers to test network designs in a real-world environment spanning multiple countries.

Researchers who build networks or design advanced distributed applications now have the opportunity to test their designs in a real-world environment – without the risk of breaking services belonging to others in the process. The GÉANT Testbeds Service (GTS) is ready to welcome users.

“Europe needs the ability to deploy experimental networks at scale. There are elements in building a network service that can’t be tested in a lab. Our service allows researchers to build networks that their users may try to break without breaking the network that the testbed is running on,” said Jerry Sobieski from NORDUnet. He is the activity leader for the GÉANT project that developed the GÉANT Testbeds Service.

Jerry Sobieski expects three main types of users to take advantage of the new service:

“One group is computer science network researchers who want to try out their theories in real life. Another consists of developers of advanced distributed applications. If you are building a videoconferencing system spanning three continents you may want to find the best spot to place the MCU (Multipoint Control Unit). Testing can help answer that question. Finally, I expect people developing emerging technologies to use the service,” said Jerry Sobieski.

For early adopters, the service is free to use.

Expected to grow

Currently, the service spans across seven cities across Europe.

In the fall of this year the service started expanding into European NRENs (National Research and Education Networks).

“Over the next two years we will be scaling up with more capacity for virtual machines and circuits,” said Jerry Sobieski.

In the near future the service may cover three continents: Europe, North America and South America.

Using a web portal users may reserve resources and activate or deactivate virtual servers and circuits. All functions are also available via an API (Application Programming Interface), so that the testbeds service may be integrated into other services.

The GÉANT Testbeds Service started as a project under the GN3+ project. It now continues under the GN4 umbrella with four main purposes:

  • Enhance the user base.
  • Make the service more reliable.
  • Move from development to production.
  • Develop a roadmap for the next five years.

The first GTS Tech+Futures workshop took place inCopenhagen in October; a second workshop is planned for February 2016


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