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GENI Shadownet Project Status Report

Period: Post GEC 16 Report

I. Major accomplishments

The following highlights our accomplishments during the last reporting period.

A. Milestones achieved

Although all major milestones have already been addressed and completed, we have continued to make progress on some of the ongoing milestones including updating our web pages with new information about enhancements and modifications including new tutorials that demonstrate the lastest features, better interoperability and integration with other tools, and continued user support

B. Deliverables made

  • Continued to modify and enhance the instrumentation and measurement code, integrating it into the GEMINI I\&M tools. The updated code is regularly contributed to the GEMINI repositories.
  • We officially launched and are now supporting the GENI Desktop service -- a service that provides users with a simple web-based graphical interface into their GENI slices and the GEMINI I\&M system.

II. Description of work performed during last quarter

The following provides a description of the progress made during the last reporting period.

A. Activities and findings

Our efforts this past reporting period have been focused on bringing together several components associated with instrumentation and measurement to form a single coherent tool for accessing and monitoring an experiment.

First, we continued our integration of code previously part of the INSTOOLS and LAMP system, combining it into the new GEMINI instrumentation and measurement system. This included modifying the code to work with the new UNIS server and measurement store. We also added support for accessing active measurement data collected at the measurement store.

Second, we continued to enhance the parsing service, adapting it to handle modifications and extentions to the RSPEC formats and to better interoperate with the UNIS server used in GEMINI.

Third, we added support for archiving data from the new GEMINI system to iRods which included making GEMINI work with the iRods authorization procedures. Ideally iRods would advertise its storage resources as just another GENI resource that could be reserved. However, because the iRods system is "outside" GENI and does not understand or accept GENI credentials, we needed to design a way to map between GENI user accounts and iRods user accounts. In our previous version based on INSTOOLS, we performed this mapping at runtime by prompting the user for their iRods login information. To avoid this extra step and instead create the impression that iRods is seamlessly integrated into GENI (not to mention making it easier to use), we decided to leverage iRods grid security infrastructure (GSI) support for proxy certs as the way to transfer data to iRods on the user's behalf. This does not solve the problem of iRods account creation and the uploading of the information needed by the iRods server to verify the proxy cert -- these steps still need to be done ahead of time by the user or some agent acting on the user's behalf. Having solved the authentication problem, we used the standard iRods client-side commands/programs to move data to the user's iRods account.

Fourth, we brought all of these changes together behind a new graphical user interface called the GENI Desktop. The GENI Desktop not only allows access to GEMINI measurement data, but it also provides users with an interactive windowing system by which they can access and apply operations to subsets of the resources in the slice. The underlying abstraction provided by the GENI Desktop was inspired, in part, by conventional file browsers where the usage model is essentially "select a file or set of files and then apply an operation" (where operation might be copy, move, delete, etc.). Similarly, the GENI Desktop allows users to select a set of their resources (e.g., nodes or links in the topology) and then apply an operation (e.g., show the DNS name and IP address, ssh into the node, see TCP traffic graphs, etc). The operations allowed on nodes are modular and can be extended and enhanced over time. Each service runs in its own "window" inside the web browser giving a look-and-feel similar to that of working with a conventional windowing system, despite being inside a browser. Because the GENI desktop is accessed via a web browser, users can login and interact with nodes in their slice from any machine rather than from only machines that have had a long list of GENI client software installed and configured.

Fifthly, we integrated the GENI Desktop with Flack to support a single sign-on to GENI. Because the first step in working with a slice is to define the topology and allocate resources/slivers, we wanted users to be able to invoke Flack directly from the GENI Desktop to define their topology. Consequently, we worked with the team from the University of Utah to create a login page that redirects the user to login to the Emulab from which they received their GENI credentials. Once logged in, the GENI Desktop can get access to the credential it needs to invoke operations on the user's slices.

With the help of colleagues at the University of Utah, we also installed an InstaGENI rack at the University of Kentucky that we were able to use as part of our demonstrations and tutorials. The instaGENI rack runs the standard instaGENI software distributed by the Utah group, and it is directly tied into the Internet 2 backbone via ION and the appropriate VLANs allowing direct connections to other GENI racks and resources.

We demonstrated the new GENI Desktop system and its integration with InstaGENI and the Flack slice creation tool at GEC 16, and offered a hands-on tutorial showing new users how to use the system in their own experiments. Users have already begun using the GENI Desktop and InstaGENI resources in their projects. We have also continued to manage and operate the Juniper routers that comprise the Shadownet aggregate, making these resources available to users via the Flack interface.

B. Project participants

The following individuals are involved with the project in one way or another:

  • Jim Griffioen - Project PI (Kentucky)
  • Zongming Fei - Project Co-PI (Kentucky)
  • Kobus van der Merwe - Project Co-PI (was AT\&T, now at Utah)
  • Eric Boyd - Subcontract Lead (Internet2)
  • Brian Cashman - Network Planning Manager (Internet2)
  • Lowell Pike - Network administrator (Kentucky)
  • Hussamuddin Nasir - Technician/Programmer (Kentucky)
  • Charles Carpenter - Researcher/Programmer (Kentucky)
  • Jeremy Reed - Research Assistant (Kentucky)
  • Emmanouil Mavrogiorgis - Research Staff (AT\&T)

C. Publications (individual and organizational)

  • Fast-tracking GENI Experiments using HyperNets, Shufeng Huang, James Griffioen, and Kenneth L. Calvert, The Second GENI Research and Educational Experiment Workshop (GREE2013) in conjunction with the 16th GENI Engineering Conference (GEC16), March 21 - 22, 2013
  • GENI-enabled Programming Experiments for Networking Classes, James Griffioen, Zongming Fei, Hussamuddin Nasir, Xiongqi Wu, Jeremy Reed, and Charles Carpenter, The Second GENI Research and Educational Experiment Workshop (GREE2013) in conjunction with the 16th GENI Engineering Conference (GEC16), March 21 - 22, 2013

D. Outreach activities

  • Jim Griffioen and Hussamuddin Nasir (together with colleagues from Indiana and Utah) gave a demonstration and tutorial at GEC 16 about InstaGENI, the GENI Desktop and the GEMINI I\&M system.
  • We also presented during the demo session at GEC 16 showing the latest version of the GENI Desktop and its features.

E. Collaborations

Most of our collaborations have been with the Shadownet team. It involves participants from Kentucky, AT\&T, and Internet2, but we have also collaborated closely with our InstaGENI, and perfSONAR/LAMP/GEMINI colleagues.

F. Other Contributions