Creating the architecture of the Future Internet requires the collaboration of academia and industry, addressing critical technical challenges in hardware and software, working with agile development methods and the open source software community. UNIFY's consortium of experts from across Europe will undertake just such an approach.

In UNIFY we implement a work plan, which starts with the exploration of use cases and the definition of the requirements followed by the design of a reference architecture.

Therefore, WP2 is the start of UNIFY's research work, laying the foundations for the overall project. It undertakes initial analysis, and map out the technical requirements for all following work packages. Use case scenarios will be developed to show how UNIFY can improve today's IT processes and telecom operations. A definition of UNIFY's proposed architecture will be established, incorporating the requirements of being novel, resilient, secure, trustworthy and energy efficient. A techno-economic analysis will be carried out to validate the project's proposed solutions. WP2 will conclude with the demonstration of an integrated and open source prototype, verifying and validating the solutions developed by UNIFY.

The identified research and design issues are tackled in three technically focused work packages:

Service Programming, Orchestration and Optimization (WP3) addresses the core concern of UNIFY - the virtualization of networks, by shifting the programmable elements from hardware to software. A generic orchestration and optimization framework will be derived, taking into account the various services and infrastructures that must be supported, such as data centres and carrier networks. WP3 will enable the integration of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), by delivering the functional specifications of the necessary advanced programming languages and algorithms. The output from WP3 will be incorporated into the working prototype of UNIFY's proposed network solutions.

Service Provider DevOps (WP4) focuses on increasing the capacity and speed for innovation and new service creation using UNIFY's new network architecture. The title of the work package is inspired by the DevOps approaches responsible for the fast and frequent software releases of many Web 2.0 companies. WP4 will develop an approach to integrate service deployment with operational steps, such as service verification, monitoring and troubleshooting. This will include scalable service monitoring approaches, the design of flexible observation points, algorithms for runtime verification of service chains, and workflow automation. 

Unified Node Architecture and Evaluation (WP5) investigates how communications networks could benefit from universal node hardware and software. It will do this by proposing a universal node architecture, consisting of both hardware and software, and evaluate its viability in service provider networks. WP5 will consider whether off-the-shelf hardware based on the x86 platform can be used for this purpose, or if new hardware needs to be developed. Finally, it will produce a specific techno-economic model focusing on the possible future architecture of the universal node.

Technical coordination, refinement of the architecture, integrated prototyping and the techno-economic evaluation of the UNIFY concept is again carried out by WP2 in alignment with the use-cases and requirements in the second part of the project execution.

Timeline & Milestones

Project start

Universal Node functional specification and use case requirements on data plane

API and Universal Node software architecture

Use cases and initial architectures

Initial requirements for the SP-DevOps concept, universal node capabilities and proposed tools

Final architecture

Programmability framework

Initial Benchmarking documentation

Proposal for SP-DevOps network capabilities and tools

Prototype description and implementation plan

Prototype deliverable

Detailed functional specification and algorithm description

Revised framework with functions and semantics

Prototype deliverable

Final benchmarking documentation

Economic viability of technical solutions

Integration of prototypes

DevOpsPro code base

Updated concept and evaluation results for SP-DevOps

Project end