Renato Figueiredo awarded NSF grant for Peer-to-Peer Overlay Virtual Network for Cloud Computing Research

Providing end-to-end network connectivity among distributed virtual machines in today's Internet environment (where nodes are often constrained by firewalls and network address translators) requires significant investment of time in development, testing and maintenance of code needed solely to provide connectivity. This project addresses these connectivity challenges in cloud computing by developing an open-source scientific software element that allows researchers and users of clouds to seamlessly create virtual networks on demand for distributed virtual machines. To this end, the project creates software-defined virtual networks that support the standard Internet Protocol (IP) and use tunneling of virtual network packets over Peer-to-Peer (P2P) links among virtual machines for scalable and resilient messaging. In addition to the core IP-over-P2P virtual networking, the software provides a framework for configuration, management and monitoring that enables easy deployment of user-defined overlays for inter-cloud research experiments.

The open-source software developed in this project enables advances in the state-of-the-art of research of cloud computing systems and applications. Complementary to research and development activities, this project delivers educational modules, tutorials, software packages, and pre-configured virtual machine images that allow non-expert users to deploy their own virtual networks over private, commercial and public clouds. Because cloud computing technologies are increasingly pervasive and of growing importance to the economy and society, the broader impacts of this project can reach Internet users at large who benefit from the ability to seamlessly interconnect cloud virtual machines across multiple providers. In particular, leveraging online social networking technologies, the virtual network software software enables individuals and small groups to easily create social virtual private networks connecting personal computers and multiple cloud resources.