SURF will again participate in the SuperComputing conference, this year to be held in Texas. Among other things, our aim there is to give demonstrations of challenging innovations as part of our ongoing research into new solutions. This year we will demonstrate the options of the programmable network. SURF will show how 4K video images can be manipulated in real time with the help of Network Function Virtualisation (NFV).
Network Function Virtualisation (NFV)
Network Function Virtualisation offers a new method for providing and managing network functions, such as Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems, etc. Rather than offering these functions through specialised hardware/hardware appliances, they are offered through virtual machine software, the advantage being the ability to ‘piggyback’ on the economies of scale of server virtualisation technology. Furthermore, modifying network function software is a quicker, simpler process than replacing a specialised appliance. Thanks to the programmable network, traffic flows can be guided through the network functions in a controlled fashion.
About the demonstration
SuperComputing visitors will be able to try out the technology themselves. The SURF stand will be equipped with a 4K camera, with which visitors will be able to film themselves. Using a tablet, they can create mirror images, add colour effects or display logos in or otherwise modify the live video images in real time. This is achieved by transmitting the live images to various virtual machines with NFV via the programmable network (SDN platform). After processing, the images are transmitted back to the conference room via the programmable network and displayed on the 4K screen. The 4K screen output is thereby modified in real time, even as visitors alter video image effects and backgrounds on the tablet.
With the demonstration, SURF hopes to acquire experience with NFV. We are investigating the status of NFV technology and the options it currently presents. We will continue to track its development to be able to decide at an early stage whether NFV might play a part in the SURFnet network, and if so, when and how.