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GENI in a Box

What is GENI-in-a-Box?

GENI-in-a-Box is intended to help you get started with GENI without having to apply and get approved for a GENI account. You can use GENI-in-a-Box to set up and run experiments just as you would with using resources from a real GENI aggregate. With GENI-in-a-Box all the resources you use exist within a VirtualBox virtual machine running on your computer.

The figure below is a schematic of the GENI-in-a-Box architecture. GENI-in-a-Box is distributed as a VirtualBox VM that includes:

  • The Omni experiment control tool,
  • A clearinghouse to create slices, and
  • An aggregate manager that makes resources available for experimentation.

You can get up to six virtual machines running Linux from the GENI-in-a-Box aggregate manager. Each of these virtual machines has three NICs. You use these resources to form any topology that does not require more than six nodes and more than three NICs on a node. GENI standard rspecs are used to specify the machines, links and topology required by your experiment.

All the virtual machines created for you run the same Linux distribution and version. You pick the distribution you want by downloading the appropriate flavor of GENI-in-a-Box. At this time there one flavor of GENI-in-a-Box available: A Fedora 15 flavor. An Ubuntu 10.0.4 flavor of GENI-in-a-Box is being tested and will be available soon.

You will have root access to the virtual machines used in your experiment. You can use ssh to connect to and log into these machines.

No image "GiB-schematic.png" attached to GENI-in-a-Box

Where can I get GENI-in-a-Box?

GENI-in-a-Box can be downloaded from here? . This is a fairly large download (~1.75GB) and so you will want a good broadband Internet connection for the download.

How do I use GENI-in-a-Box?

Instructions on getting started with GENI-in-a-Box are on this page. Please make sure you have VirtualBox Version 4.1.16 or later installed on your computer before you follow the instructions on that page.

Can I move my experiments from GENI-in-a-Box to real resources in the GENI infrastructures?

GENI-in-a-Box resources share a number of similarities with resources from ProtoGENI aggregates. It will therefore be easiest to move your experiment from GENI-in-a-Box to a ProtoGENI-based aggregate. See this page for tips on moving your experiment from GENI-in-a-Box to ProtoGENI resources.

What are the limitations of GENI-in-a-Box?

Because all of GENI-in-a-Box exists within one VirtualBox VM it is subject to limitations such as:

  • Limited performance isolation. The experimenter virtual machines compete with one another and with other processes running on your computer for CPU, network and other resources. Software execution times may therefore not be repeatable.
  • Lack of control over link bandwidth. Some GENI aggregates such as ProtoGENI allow experimenters to specify the bandwidth of the links used in the experiment. GENI-in-a-Box ignores any bandwidth specifications in the request rspec. Additionally, all links in GENI-in-a-Box are bi-directional.
  • Relatively small numbers of resources available for experimentation. Experiments on GENI-in-a-Box are limited to a relatively small number of nodes (currently six).
  • Limited OS options. All experimenter virtual machines inside and instance of GENI-in-a-Box run the same OS. The OS version is determined by the flavor of GENI-in-a-Box you are using. The GENI-in-a-Box aggregate manager ignores any OS specifications in the request rspec.

Where can I get help with GENI-in-a-Box?

Please email your questions to We also welcome your suggestions for improving GENi-in-a-Box.

Where can I learn more about the implementation of GENI-in-a-Box?

If you are a software developer interested in learning about how GENI-in-a-Box is implemented or interested in enhancing GENI-in-a-Box see this page.

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