Abstraction Layer for Implementation of Extensions in programmable Networks

ALIEN will deliver an innovative network abstraction mechanism targeting the control and management convergence and interoperability of heterogeneous network elements, building strong foundations for Software Defined Networking (SDN). OpenFlow, considered as an enabler for SDN, may be used on a wider scale and more efficiently with upgrades to the existing architecture and protocol. These novel and visionary extensions will allow OpenFlow to be more scalable and adaptable in optical networks and in heterogeneous environments where OpenFlow is only partially supported. Therefore the ALIEN project aims to provide an experimentally verified OpenFlow Hardware Abstraction Layer for describing network device capabilities and controlling the forwarding behaviour of all OpenFlow and non-OpenFlow capable hardware simultaneously, also including L1 equipment support.


The ALIEN objectives are twofold:

  • to develop an OpenFlow based programmable network architecture over non-OpenFlow capable hardware in order to enable scalable interaction and unified management of overall network infrastructure, despite of supported features and technology
  • to extend OpenFlow architecture and concepts beyond frame forwarding management by including new network hardware and technologies support, i.e. optical DWDM systems

The project proposes extensions to the base of programmable hardware that can be used to run OpenFlow. The term “alien hardware” is used in the project to identify any type of network hardware that doesn’t support natively OpenFlow:

  • Packet switching equipment: e.g. traditional L2 packet switch without OpenFlow support
  • Non-packet switching equipment: e.g. optical switch
  • Packet processing and monitoring equipment: e.g. FPGA, network processor
Scheduled start date: 2012-10-01
Scheduled finish date: 2014-09-30
Status: completed

Supercomputing 2013 - the world's largest ICT environments meeting, organized around such topics as: efficient data processing (HPC - High Performance Computing), networking, storage and analysis of data, is held in Denver, Colorado (U.S). The conference taking place from 17 to 22 November, is accompanied by the exhibition (18-21.11.2013), during which PIONIER Consortium and Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center is presenting Polish achievements in the field of ICT.

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