D-2.3.0 Architectural Framework: new release and first evaluation results

The deliverable D-2.3.0 Architectural Framework: new release and first evaluation results is available for review and comment.
4WARD WP2 main objective is the development of the Architecture Framework to represent and design future networks architectures within families of interoperable networks. This set of concepts and procedures can be used to model current networks, 4WARD networking solutions and future networks. The reader should notice that WP2 does not aim to specify the 4WARD Architecture (i.e. to define the network architecture that integrates the different approaches under study in the different 4WARD work packages); in fact, this is the goal of the project wide activity “Architecture Task Force” to which WP2 is also an active contributor.
This deliverable presents an advanced draft of the 4WARD Architecture Framework being developed in WP2. While the previous deliverable ([2]) was more focused on the specification of the concepts being developed in WP2, this deliverable is more focused on the presentation of the validation activities being carried out in WP2, which have helped to review the concepts presented in the previous deliverable.
To model new Network Architectures, WP2 has defined the concepts, terms and the basic constructs. This Architecture Framework provides two levels of views on network architectures: (i) the macroscopic view mainly focuses on structuring the network at a higher level of abstraction and introduces the concept of Strata as a flexible way to layer the services of the network that can enable the usage of information across different layers; and (ii) the microscopic view concentrates more on the functions needed in the network nodes, their selection and composition to Netlets that are instantiated in the Node Architecture that allows the dynamic coupling of applications and network protocols not easily possible in today’s networks. In this deliverable, the Functional Blocks are presented as the common points between the two views of the architecture. The Component Based Architecture constructs and principles are used as the basis to provide reusable frameworks that minimise the design and development times of new network architectures.
The Network Architect (which is defined as the responsible(s) of designing new networks) uses the Architecture Framework to design and develop new Network Architectures. The methodology to be followed is represented in the Design Process; which considers 3 main phases: (i) detailed requirement analysis, (ii) the Abstract Service Design and (iii) the Component Design Phase. This proposal does not aim to substitute the current design processes available in different organisations but it presents a proposal which links the communication system design and the software development principles. The Design Process is complemented with a so-called Design Repository which provides guidelines, design patterns and the like in order to support the Network Architect. In this context, the document presents a methodology to compose different functionalities. Moreover, the Interoperability among different networks has been considered in some detail and some best practices are provided that allow for flexible interworking in Future Internet environments.
All these concepts are being validated using different strategies: use cases are used to develop and validate the proposed concepts; the prototyping of the proposed constructs demonstrates that they can be implemented and deployed; the modelling activities demonstrate the specified properties and they provide the tools that can be used for future implementation; finally, simulations are used to validate specific algorithms and provide design patterns for specific problems. All these strategies have been followed to validate the different concepts as explained next:
In order to validate the Strata concept, the Component Based Prototype has been developed. This prototype is designed, a first version is available and it can be used to implement several use cases such as the bootstrapping of new networks or to integrate WP4 concepts. Additionally, the Agent Based Prototype has been also implemented in order to show the functionalities from the Governance and Knowledge strata that could be deployed in the nodes. By simulation, a discovery protocol has been evaluated and some results are expected to be included as part of the Design Repository. Finally, the stratum modelling activities can be reused by the Network Architect during the specification of the Strata.
The Node Architecture/Netlets concepts are validated from different perspectives. The implementation of the Node Architecture Daemon validates the proposed architecture and constitutes a tool that can be used to easily prototype new functionalities in a node. This Node Architecture prototype will be used to show specific use cases where the WP3 VNet framework is used. Simulation studies are being conducted to validate the signalling capabilities that should be integrated in the Node Architecture in order to deal with the wireless media. The different Netlets and capabilities will be simulated in OMNeT++. Finally, an early version of a modelling tool (the Netlet Editor) to support the design of the Netlets (that also provides the way to visualise the composition of functionalities inside a Netlet) is provided. This activity will show the general feasibility and utility of tool-supported Netlet design.
The Interoperability concepts are being validated thanks to the implementation of the SLA Module to be integrated in the Strata prototype. This prototype is being built considering the models developed in the SLA Modelling work that has produced a general model for the contract that provides the information about the parties involved in the service negotiation and the functionalities to be provided.
The Composition of Functionalities is a concept available in basically all the activities. Just to highlight, the CBA prototype assumes the composition of different functionalities as well as the Netlets running inside the Node Architecture prototype.
For the validation of the Design Process, we basically rely on the Use Case about Ad-Hoc communities initially defined by WP1 and that WP2 has refined in close cooperation with that WP to validate the different phases of the process. This an activity that it is still in progress; thanks to the close analysis of the business requirements and the inference of technical requirements, WP2 has provided a good input to WP1 in order to refine the business value of transit carriers in the Network of Information. Finally, as part of the validation of the Design Process, the result of the rest of validation activities (patterns for signalling in wireless access, results from Netlets, etc.) can be considered part of the Design Repository, which contains all those principles, constructs and best practices to be reused during the design of new networks.
This deliverable presents the current status of all these validation activities which are not in their final stage but that, for the time being, have demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed concepts as well as the inference of design patterns for the design of discovery protocols or signalling capabilities that can be reused during the design of new networks. It should be also noticed that in all these activities, WP2 has collaborated with the different WPs, in particular: WP2 has taken as an input a scenario defined by WP1 in order to apply the Design Process and has helped to clearly identify the business benefit that should be derived from the required new functionalities/services to be provided by the different stakeholders, in this scenario WP2 will apply concepts from WP6; WP3 VNet framework is being used to instantiate the Node Architecture daemon and the Strata prototype is incorporating concepts from WP4.
Following the main document, there are some annexes that provide additional information mainly related to the validation activities in order to provide more technical details about the use of the WP2 framework.