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GENI Experimenters How-to Using Omni tools

This page provides an overview of the actions required by an experimenter to run a GENI experiment using resources from multiple resource aggregates. For an overview of available GENI experiment options and resources see the GENI Experimenter Portal page. Also, if you are new to GENI and plan to start a new project, please contact the GENI Project Office at Assuming that you have explored the experiment options and the type of resources you will need, you are now ready to get GENI resources to use in your experiment:

  • Get credentials from one Clearinghouse, this allows you to access multiple aggregates.
  • Install and configure Omni tools
  • Use the Omni tools to create a slice
  • Request resources from one or more aggregates to add to the slice
  • and of course, run the experiment.

Also you may choose to run the experiment over a VLAN, or an OpenFlow VLAN, or no VLAN at all, as in the PlanetLab aggregate. While working through this procedure, you may need to interact with the GENI Infrastructure group to get VLAN or OF VLAN resources allocated and running, these interactions are captured herein. At a high level, the steps to run a GENI Experiment include:

This page focuses on resource allocation with Omni tools, other tools exists to assist the experimenter with resource allocation but are not covered here. Two supporting examples are provided to illustrate the steps needed to run an experiment with GENI resources, each example has a unique scope:

  • GENI Experiment Example 1 covers how to configure and use Omni tools to reserve compute resources from multiple resource aggregates (PG & PL). This example has no specific network requirement, it simply focuses on getting host resources allocated for an experiment.
  • GENI OpenFlow Experiment Example 2 covers how to use Omni tools to request OpenFlow resources as part of an experiment that also uses PG & MyPLC compute resources. The scenario assumes that the experimenter is running an OF controller.

1. Get GENI Credentials

To access GENI resources, an experimenter must have GENI credentials! Credentials are associated with a project that a Principal Investigator or Faculty Member has set up at the project request page. The responsible PI or faculty member should contact to start the project creation process. The GPO will need to get a rough understanding of the kinds of experiments planned and can work with you to identify the GENI resources you may need. At this point, you can use the project name at the GPO ProtoGENI Clearing House to submit an account request. Project and account requests examples are captured in the GENI Credentials page. Additionally, GENI credentials can be requested at various Clearinghouses including PlanetLab and ProtoGENI (Emulab) sites.

The Clearinghouse must have a copy of your existing or newly generated SSH public key, which is placed on the allocated resource to allow access. The Omni tools automatically upload your SSH public key when you create a slice, so if you plan to use Omni tools you can skip the manual SSH key upload. Without Omni tools, this is done manually by logging into the server (GPO ProtoGENI,PlanetLab, or Emulab) and uploading the SSH keys that you will use to run the experiment. For PlanetLab, the ssh key manual uploaded is in the My Account page in the keys section. For ProtoGENI Emulab, the manual key uploaded in the Profile tab in the Edit SSH Keys page.

A SSL certificate is also required to manage access to GENI resources. For PlanetLab resources, the user generates his/her own SSL certificate, while for the ProtoGENI Clearinghouses the experimenter uses the ProtoGENI server to generate the SSL certificate. On the GPO ProtoGENI, and Emulab servers, the SSL certificate is generated in the Profile tab, use the Generate SSL certificate option to create and download an encrypted SSL certificate. The encrypted certificate must be passphrase protected and should be downloaded into your ~/.ssl directory. If you do not want to type the SSL certificate passphrase each time your certificate is used, see these optional instructions to remove the pass-phrase prompt.

2. Get Omni Tools

To get access to the GENI resources you can use the OMNI client which is part of the GENI Control Framework (GCF) software package. Get the GCF package at this GCF location and install it using the Quick Start instructions.

Once the GCF package is installed, configure the Omni tools by defining the Clearinghouse and user credentials that you plan to use for accessing the resources. For the supporting GENI Experiment Examples 1 and 2, the Omni configuration file is modified to includes settings shown here.

For users who have existing accounts at PlanetLab or Emulab and want to use those credentials, information on how to configure Omni for those clearinghouses can be found at Omni PlanetLab page or the ProtoGENI Omni page.

3. Define Required Resources

You are now ready to define the resources required for your experiment. The Omni tools can be used to query a Resource Aggregate to get a list of available resources. In the supporting GENI Experiment Example 1 page, an example is provided that show how to list available resources in the PG and PL aggregates. The results can be used to generate an RSPEC that defines the resource you would like to use in the experiment. Example Rspec files are available for PlanetLab resources and for ProtoGENI resources. More RSpec details can be found at the ProtoGENI site. Also for a list of GENI aggregates that are currently available for GENI users see the list of available aggregates at the GENI Experimenter Portal page.

In defining your experiment resources, you need to determine if VLANs are to be used. The following VLAN options are available for GENI Experiments:

  1. ProtoGENI VLAN (Internet2 only) available via the ProtoGENI Flack client.
  2. OpenFlow VLAN, current state available at GENI Network Core page
  3. Static VLANs which are setup for NLR, Internet2, Regional Providers, and Campuses.

If you decide that no VLANs are needed, simply ignore the VLAN and OF VLAN details below and proceed to the Get Resources step below.

If you are planning to use static or OF VLANs in your GENI experiment, you can reference the GENI Connectivity Home page for background and recommendations to set up GENI connections and experiments. Static VLAN are mostly set up as single or multiple VLANs that may or may not use VLAN Translation. There are other options, which are less common and they include: Layer 2 Tunneling, Direct Fiber Connection, and Higher Layer Tunneling. A high level overview of these VLAN connectivity options is available at the Connectivity Overview page. Detailed steps required to acquire various types of connections between two campuses are captured at VLAN Connectivity Guidelines page. Also for a list of supported OpenFlow VLAN options for your campus you may refer to the Connectivity Options page.

To implement your VLAN choice you can contact, with a request that defines your VLAN requirements. In the request you should capture the following details:

  • VLAN connection type
  • your campus VLAN details
  • the regional networks provider for the sites/campuses you plan to use
  • the national research backbone(s) for your sites.

If you are not sure what Site/Regional/Backbone VLAN resources you are using, you can get assistance at

If you are planning to use OpenFlow (OF) VLAN resources for your experiment you can use Omni tools to query and request OF resources from a site OpenFlow Aggregate Manager. The GENI OpenFlow Experiment Example 2 page captures an OF Experiment and walks through the Authentication, Omni tools configuration, Resource Allocation, Opt-in Manager Administrative approval, up to running an experiment.

If you require help to set up your OF resources, support is available at, where you will get support to get the OF VLAN resources needed for your experiment and provide the following details: resource needed, location of the resource, and experiment characteristics (Speed, Bandwidth requirements, etc). Details required for the OF VLAN depend on the experiment, therefore the list of information required will vary for your experiment. For additional information on how to configure Omni tools see the Omni OpenFlow page for details.

4. Get Resources

The Omni tools can create a slice and reserve one or more resource slivers. In the supporting GENI Experiment Example 1 page, examples are provides that show how to:

Similarly, for an experiment using OF flowspace resources, see the GENI OpenFlow Experiment Example 2 page, which also provides examples as in the above. For additional details on how to get framework resources: within PlanetLab see the Omni PlaneLab page, or within ProtoGENI Emulab see the Omni ProtoGENI page.

5. Run Experiment

Once the slice and sliver resources are ready, and a VLAN or an OF VLAN has been successfully set up, you may now run your experiment.

Remember to monitor the expiration time for your slice for each of the resource aggregates with the Omni sliverstatus option and to extend expiration as needed with the renewsliver option. An example for checking the sliverstatus and renewsliver can be found here.

When your experiment is completed, you should delete slivers to release your resources from each resource aggregate used.

Email us with any questions and feedback on this page!

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