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Experimentation with GENI

Why use GENI?

GENI might be right for your experiment if:

  • Your experiment requires more resources than would ordinarily be found in your lab. Since GENI is a suite of infrastructures it can potentially provide you with more resources than is typically found in any one laboratory. This is especially true for compute resources: GENI provides access to large testbeds with hundreds of PCs and to cloud computing resources.
  • Your experiment requires non-IP connectivity across resources. Some GENI aggregates allow you to set up Layer 2 connections between resources within the aggregate. Experimenters may install and run their own Layer 3 and above protocols on these resources. It is also possible to setup Layer 2 connections between many GENI aggregates that connect to GENI backbone networks (Internet2 and NLR). You can even set up your network to route through experimenter programmable switches in the GENI backbone.
  • Your experiment requires requires geographically distributed resources. Some GENI aggregates include resources distributed around the world.

An Experimenter's View of GENI

GENI is a suite of infrastructures for networking and distributed systems experimentation. GENI supports at-scale experimentation on shared, heterogeneous, highly instrumented infrastructure and enables deep programmability throughout the network.

As an experimenter you will need to know about GENI clearinghouses and GENI aggregates. A GENI clearinghouse authenticates experimenters and issues them credentials needed to obtain GENI resources for experimentation.

GENI aggregates provide resources to experimenters with GENI credentials. GENI has a number of different aggregates that provide a variety of resources for experimentation. An important aspect of planning your experiment is deciding what resources you need (type and numbers) and which aggregates might meet your needs.

The following figure illustrates the role of GENI clearinghouses and aggregates:

Clearinghouses and Aggregates

Available Resources

The following is a list of GENI aggregates that are currently available for use by experimenters. Click on the name of an aggregate to get basic information about the aggregate such as its numbers of resources, network connectivity and operational status. As you plan your experiment you will want to consider:

  • The degree of control you need over your experiment. Do you need to tightly control the resources (CPU, bandwidth, etc.) allocated to your experiment or will best-effort suffice. If you need a tightly controlled environment you might want to consider the U. of Utah ProtoGENI aggregate that allocate entire PCs that can be connected in arbitrary topologies.
  • The desired network topology. Does your experiment have to be geographically distributed? What kinds of connectivity do you need between these geographically distributed locations. Almost all aggregates can connect using IP connectivity over the Internet. Many aggregates connect to one of the GENI backbones and allow you to set up IP connections with other resources on the backbone. This will give you a bit more control over the network. Some aggregates provide Layer 2 connectivity over a GENI backbone i.e. you can set up vlans between these aggregates and other resources on the backbone network. This allows you to run non-IP protocols across between the aggregate and other resources.
  • The number of resources you need from an aggregate. Aggregates vary from small installations such as the GPO Lab ProtoGENI aggregate that consists of eleven nodes to the PlanetLab and ProtoGENI aggregates that consist of hundreds of nodes.

GENI Aggregates currently available to experimenters:

  • Compute resources

Princeton PlanetLab?
GPO PlanetLab?
U. of Utah ProtoGENI?
ISI Deter Testbed?
Million Node GENI?
ORBIT Testbed?

  • Programmable switches

Supercharged PlanetLab Platform Nodes?
ProtoGENI Backbone Nodes?
Stanford OpenFlow switch?

Getting Access

To run experiments on GENI please contact Mark Berman of the GENI Project Office.

Experimenter Help Page

See for a tutorial on running an experiment on GENI.

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