Vision

We envision full network and service virtualization to enable rich and flexible services and operational efficiency. Therefore, the UNIFY consortium will research, develop and evaluate means to orchestrate, verify and observe end-to-end service delivery from home and enterprise networks through aggregation and core networks to data centres. Telecom providers struggle with low service flexibility, increasing complexity and related costs. Although cloud computing and networking have been two active fields of research, there is currently little integration between the vast networking assets and data centres of telecom providers. A unified production environment will create unprecedented opportunities for innovation, an improved quality of experience for users, and technological leadership for European industry and academia. A faster and more flexible network will reduce operating costs and open up new business possibilities.

Objectives

In UNIFY we will open up the potential of virtualization and automation across the whole networking and cloud infrastructure. In our focus are enablers of a unified production environment. We will develop an automated, dynamic service creation platform, leveraging a fine-granular service chaining architecture. We will create a service abstraction model and a proper service creation language to enable dynamic and automatic placement of networking, computing and storage components across the infrastructure. We will develop a global orchestrator with optimization algorithms to ensure optimal placement of elementary service components across the infrastructure. We will research and develop new management technologies (Service Provider DevOps), able to cope with the increased dynamicity and agility of the unified production environment.We will investigate the applicability of a universal network node based on commodity hardware to support both network functions and traditional data centre workloads.

Challenges

Cloud computing is attracting enormous attention for its ability to connect consumers and businesses with their remotely stored data through any device. But the infrastructure required to transport data from a storage centre to an end user is presently fragmented and inflexible. Reconfiguring any part of the network often requires programming physical hardware on location, making upgrades costly and time consuming.
A response to this problem is the emergence of Software Defined Networking (SDN), which, in simple terms, shifts control of a network from hardware to software. This virtualization allows for more flexible reprogramming of network elements, increasing speed and the potential for innovation.
UNIFY aims to improve virtualized network operation by building a new architecture that optimizes data traffic flows. The consortium will design a universal hardware node architecture with advanced programmability. This will be accompanied by new models, languages, algorithms and management tools to optimize data traffic across networks.

Impact

The UNIFY project will help European research and technology sectors lead the evolution of network architecture. The service architecture will be based on a unified view of the infrastructure, covering both the traditional network and the data centre entities. The programmability framework envisaged by UNIFY will create unprecedented opportunity for innovation in the fields of cloud computing and networking. A lower technical barrier for sharing resources and services will unlock new business opportunities, which can be rapidly implemented on a unified production environment. 
UNIFY's architecture will reduce operational costs by removing the need for costly on-site hardware upgrades, taking advantage of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and networking virtualization technologies. European industries that stand to gain from UNIFY's output include Future Internet technologies, mobile and wireless broadband systems, optical networks and network management technologies. Users will benefit from an improved quality of experience, greater service options, and faster communication between their devices and data centres. With an unprecedented level of speed, simplicity and scalability in operation, and greater potential for future innovation, UNIFY's new network architecture will deliver economic advantages and technological leadership for Europe.

Consortium

UNIFY brings together a consortium of European partners, including service providers, vendors, universities and research institutes.
Partners:

Ericsson Ericsson Hungary
Acreo   Acreo
BISDN   BISDN
Budapest University of Technology and Economics   Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Deutsche Telekom AG   Deutsche Telekom AG
Ericsson AB   Ericsson AB
Universidad del Pais Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitea   Universidad del Pais Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea
EICT   EICT GmbH
iMinds   iMinds
Intel   Intel
Hellenic Telecommunications Organization   Hellenic Telecommunications Organization
Politecnico di Torino   Politecnico di Torino
SICS   SICS
Telecom Italia   Telecom Italia
Travelping   Travelping
TU Berlin   TU Berlin

Contact

UNIFY is a complex project touching a wide range of technical aspects, and is embedded in a vivid scientific field. If you have questions on the UNIFY project, please contact our project coordinator:

András Császár
Ericsson Hungary (HU)
Email: andras.csaszar(at)ericsson.com

For technical information, please contact our technical coordinator:
RĂłbert SzabĂł
Ericsson Hungary (HU)
robert.szabo(at)ericsson.com