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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Future Internet Concept: In-Network Clouds


One of the key aspect fundamentally missing from the current Internet infrastructure is an advanced service networking platform and facilities, which take advantage of flexible sharing of available connectivity, computation, and storage resources.

The current Internet has been founded on a basic architectural premise, that is: a simple network service can be used as a universal means to interconnect both dumb and intelligent end systems. 


The simplicity of the current Internet has pushed complexity into the endpoints, and has allowed impressive scale in terms of inter-connected devices. However, while the scale has not yet reached its limits, Internet use is expected to grow massively over the next few years with an order of magnitude more Internet services, the interconnection of smart objects from the Internet of Things, and the integration of increasingly demanding enterprise and societal applications.

The Future Internet research and development trends are covering the main focus of the current Internet, which is connectivity, routing, and naming as well as defining and design of all levels of interfaces for Services and for networks’ and services’ resources. As such, the Future Internet covers the complete management and full lifecycle of applications, services, networks and infrastructures that are primarily constructed by recombining existing elements in new and creative ways.

The aspects which are fundamentally missing from the current Internet infrastructure, include the advanced service networking platforms and facilities, which take advantage of flexible sharing of available resources (e.g. connectivity, computation, and storage resources).

Due to the existence of multiple stakeholders with conflicting goals and policies, modifications to the existing Internet are now limited to simple incremental updates and deployment of new technology is next to impossible and very costly. In-Network clouds have been proposed to bypass this ossification as a diversifying attribute of the future inter-networking and inter-servicing paradigm. By allowing multiple heterogeneous network and service architectures to cohabit on a shared physical substrate, In- Network virtualisation provides flexibility, promotes diversity, and promises security and increased manageability.

In-Network clouds can be defined as an integral part of the differentiated Future Internet architecture, which supports multiple computing clouds from different service providers operating on coexisting heterogeneous virtual networks and sharing a common physical substrate of communication nodes and servers managed by multiple infrastructure providers.

By decoupling service providers from infrastructure providers and by integrating computing clouds with virtual networks the In-Network clouds introduce flexibility for change. In-Network Network and Service Clouds can be represented by a number of distributed management systems described with the help of five abstractions: Virtualisation Plane (VP), Management Plane (MP), Knowledge Plane (KP), Service Plane (SP), and Orchestration Plane (OP) as depicted in the illustration.


These planes are new higher-level artefacts, used to make the Future Internet of Services more intelligent, with embedded management functionality. At a logical level, the VMKSO planes gather observations, constraints and assertions, and apply rules to these in order to initiate proper reactions and responses. At the physical level, they are embedded and execute on network hosts, devices, attachments, and servers within the network. Together these distributed systems form a software-driven network control infrastructure that will run on top of all current networks (i.e. fixed, wireless, and mobile networks) and service physical infrastructures in order to provide an autonomic virtual resource overlay.


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