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I2ND Architecture - FIWARE Forge Wiki

I2ND Architecture

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Readers willing to refer to the past I2ND chapter architecture can access it at this page: I2ND Architecture R4.

In FIWARE Release 5 (R5), the chapter is concerned with an updated focus which is reflected by the definition of Advanced Middleware and Interfaces to Networks chapter, for consistency still shortened as I2ND chapter. The 5th release of the architecture (R5) keeps the same structure and just reflects the status of GEs after project amendment.

GEs in this chapter encompass two different domains:

  • Software-Defined Networks (SDN) in private, enterprise and public settings
  • Advanced integration middleware to be used by all FIWARE GEs requiring advanced communication

For what concerns the networking side, the managed infrastructure includes the whole spectrum of communication infrastructure, all the way from network operators infrastructure (where single nodes typically are under direct control of an operator) to data center networking devices (under control of a single cloud provider). The node functionality will be virtualized – for example the I2ND functionality could be accessed by further potential providers, like virtual operators.

This page is for Release 5 of FIWARE. If you need to see the previous architecture for components of Release 4, please visit I2ND Architecture R4

Architecture Overview

Three Generic Enablers compose the Advanced Middleware and Interface to Networks And Devices Reference Architecture:

  • Netfloc (Network flows for clouds). This GE enables cloud network application developers to build value-added services (e.g., QoS, Load balancers, resilient ad-hoc solutions) on private cloud networks. Currently the Netfloc GE implementation is an "incubated" GE in the FIWARE catalogue.
  • NETIC (NETwork Information and Control) towards Open Networks. Open Networks are following the idea of flow based controlled networks, and can be used for virtualisation of networks.
  • An Advanced Middleware enabling developers to build highly efficient and secure distributed applications, supporting a wide range of communication scenarios, including across FIWARE GEs.
The I2ND Chapter Architecture

The figure above represents the conceptual interfaces between the I2ND chapter components.

Starting from the bottom, Network Information & Control (NetIC) is intended to provide abstract access to heterogeneous open networking devices. It exposes network status information and it enables a certain level of programmability within the network (depending on the type of network and the applicable control interface). This programmability also enables network virtualization, i.e., the abstraction of the physical network resources as well as their control by a virtual network provider. Regarding the development of the OSS reference instance of the Open Software-based Cloud Networking GE Open Specifications, the OFNIC open-source implementation of the NetIC GE available in FIWARE until Release 3 is extended to assure continuity with the existing development, yet introducing additional capabilities, first of all the interfacing to OpenDayLight in addition to OpenFlow controllers. The OpenDayLight (ODL) controller is not part of the Chapter GEs and is hence depicted with a dashed border.

Netfloc GE develops advanced elements for Software defined Networking in cloud-/data-center networks. It improves the ability to efficiently manage resources in complex infrastructures, such as state-of-the-art data-centers network architectures. It will provide the capability to manage the network configuration problems due to large number of virtual machines, virtual networks and hence nested network stacks residing in those architectures. Netfloc takes the form of a Software Development Kit (SDK) for SDN. The SDK is a framework that facilitates the integration of cloud-networking control in applications. It will offer a transparent Northbound API (NAPI) that supports low-level OpenFlow functionality as well as high-level aggregated functions. This NAPI isolates programmers of the SDK from SDN controller low level details. Architectural patterns for application developers will be adopted and translated by the framework. Well known patterns are simplifying the development process, making code reusable and enabling a less complex integration of existing applications that are already using such patterns. Netfloc GE interfaces with the OpenDayLight (ODL).

NetIC and Netfloc GEs can interface to take advantage of the different abstractions offered by each component.

In contrast to other GEs, the Advanced Middleware GE is not a standalone service running in the network, but a set of compile-/runtime tools and a communication library to be integrated with an application. The Advanced Middleware GE enables flexible, efficient, scalable, and secure communication between distributed applications and to/between FIWARE GEs. The middleware offers functionality to find and establish a connection to a service, negotiate the best wire and transport protocols, access the applications data structures and encode the necessary data in a format suitable for the chosen protocol, and finally send that data and possibly receive results in return. The Advanced Middleware GE can interface to Netfloc to deploy needed network components and functionality (e.g., dedicated connections for high performance communication).

Finally, OpenStack and in particular its components dealing with networking (i.e., Neutron and Nova) will be able to transparently benefit from higher level functionalities offered by the Netfloc GE (e.g., avoiding multiple encapsulation in private networks).

Each of the GEs of I2ND has specific interfaces towards Application Developers, Cloud Services, FIWARE and other Use Case GEs and projects. The respective interfaces are described in the GE sections.

Architecture description of GEs

The following pages describe the architecture of the Generic Enablers defined in the I2ND chapter.

Interfaces to other Chapters

Interaction between the I2ND chapter and other chapters within FIWARE is necessary for realization of a complete Future Internet Core Platform. The I2ND chapter interacts with five other chapters within FIWARE, in the following the relevant chapters are highlighted.


Standardized links with the IoT GEs will provide a uniform access and control a wide range of devices. This can be done through the NGSI-9 and NGSI-10 interfaces, as well as more specific IoT related interfaces like e.g. COAP.


This interaction will allow generic applications running within VMs to access device and network services either through Nova Network / Neutron (transparently using Netfloc) or directly invoking Netfloc interfaces. All components are anticipated to run or be integrated within cloud hosted environments


Interaction between all WP enablers, in particular the advanced Middleware and Netfloc, and the security enablers, to improve the security functionalities of the GEs in the chapter.

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