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A HOLISTIC, INNOVATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR THE DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND ORCHESTRATION OF 5G-READY APPLICATIONS AND NETWORK SERVICES OVER SLICED PROGRAMMABLE INFRASTRUCTURE

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MATILDA (A HOLISTIC, INNOVATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR THE DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND ORCHESTRATION OF 5G-READY APPLICATIONS AND NETWORK SERVICES OVER SLICED PROGRAMMABLE INFRASTRUCTURE)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-08-31

MATILDA aims to devise and realize a radical shift in 5G-ready vertical applications, by providing the tools to foster and speed up the extension/evolution of the “cloud” paradigm to the 5G ecosystem, intrinsically bridging the application and the network service domains. In more detail, in a vision that foresees a stronger integration of cloud and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) environments, MATILDA will recognise and conform to the ongoing developments, and it will provide clear interfaces toward the multi-site management of cloud/edge computing and Internet of Things (IoT) resources, supported by a multi-site virtualized infrastructure manager. Based on this paradigm, it will support the creation and maintenance of 5G-ready applications through the selection of their service components and the generation of their own Forwarding Graphs, along with the lifecycle management of the required network slices, by properly interacting with the multi-site Network Functions Virtualization Orchestrator (NFVO) residing in the Network Providers’ domain. Network- and application-oriented analytics and profiling mechanisms will be supported based on both real-time and a posteriori processing of the collected data from a set of monitoring streams. To achieve these goals, intelligent, unified and hierarchical orchestration mechanisms are going to be applied for the automated placement of the 5G-ready applications and the creation and maintenance of their network slice instantiations. The concept of slice intention will allow the application-level orchestrator to request, negotiate, deploy, maintain and discontinue the proper application-aware slice instantiation, tailored to the specific application’s needs, by also providing a set of mechanisms for runtime adaptation of the application components and/or network functions, based on policies defined on behalf of the services’ provider.
As an Innovation Action, another major goal of MATILDA is to prove the effectiveness of its proposed mechanisms and architectural choices in a set of 5G-ready demonstration test beds based on real vertical-industry use cases, which will be implemented in three different test bench environments.
During this reporting period, the Project Consortium has been collaborating in a proactive fashion in defining and adding details to the MATILDA architecture, finalizing deliverable and internal reports. Internal working groups composed by people working on different technical WPs, discussed and agreed on both the MATILDA architecture definition and the peculiarities of each module and interface to be used/developed within the project, driven by an exhaustive top-down requirements’ analysis based on the vertical use cases that will be implemented in the project as demonstrators.
Use-cases to be used for the final demonstration have been identified and suitably detailed in internal reports edited by persons working in the various WPs.
The required abstractions have been also already designed, by the creation of detailed information models for the following items: chainable application components and 5G-ready application graphs, interaction with Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and their Forwarding Graphs (VNF-FGs), network-aware applications, deployment and runtime policy meta-models, creation of the slice intention.
The MATILDA architecture will bridge the gap between application-level orchestration and the Network Providers’ mechanisms that have to guarantee end-to-end connectivity, making applications network-aware – to the sole extent needed by their requirements – and, at the same time, making the network application-aware.
The architecture is divided into three distinct layers; namely, a) Development Environment and Marketplace, b) 5G-ready Application Orchestrator and b) Programmable 5G Infrastructure Slicing and Management. In a nutshell, the development environment will be responsible to package a cloud-native component in a proper format, so as to be usable by the Control Plane architectural components. Beyond that, the combination of the components in the form of complex graphs will be performed by editors that will be provided in this layer. Cloud-native components and application graphs will be persisted in a marketplace, so as to be searchable by developers. On the other hand, the logically centralized service mesh control plane is the layer that is in charge of the orchestration, monitoring and policy enforcement of a 5G-ready application. The MATILDA programmable 5G infrastructure slicing and management is the interface toward the Network Operators’ domain for the specification of configuration and management information of all underlying resources based on the requirements of the active policy.
Application developers will be requested to deal only with the application graph metamodel; notwithstanding this, they should be aware of capabilities offered by the 5G network layer in terms of connectivity and added-value services, obviously without being bothered by the knowledge of the architectural and implementation details of this offering. This is in line with the “as-a-Service” paradigm but, for the the 5G concept to really make a difference, it is required that this network awareness goes beyond the datacentre-confined vision intrinsic in the cloud environment to embrace the end-to-end 5G-enhanced capabilities, to permit the shift from cloud-native to truly 5G-ready applications. In this respect, the description of the networking requirements of the application needs to be specified only in terms of requested KPIs and constraints; likewise, the capabilities exposed by the network must match the same representational constructs. MATILDA has the ambition to provide the necessary tools to achieve these goals.
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