Selected Papers - ISBN 978-90-77559-19-2

TNC 2009 - Virtuality into Reality


Virtuality into Reality

The 25th TERENA Networking Conference was held at the Law Faculty of the University of Málaga, Spain, from 8th to 11th June 2009, jointly hosted by the University and RedIRIS, the Spanish national research network. The conference provided an opportunity for researchers, operators and suppliers of Research and Education Networks in Europe and beyond to meet to present and discuss their latest discoveries and requirements in an ideal environment for promoting collaboration. Thanks to an unprecedented arrangement with the local transport company (EMT), this even extended to the journeys to and from the main conference venue as the number 20 buses provided wireless Internet connections authenticated through the international eduroam service developed by TERENA members. This provided a very concrete example of the conference theme – "Virtuality into Reality" – the emergence of ideas and technologies from research laboratories and networks into everyday life and the opportunities and challenges for network developers, operators and users that this presents.

Conference summary

The conference theme was broken into five topics, addressed by six plenary speakers and in four parallel tracks: users and applications, virtual people, virtual technology, implications and support infrastructure. The opening plenary by Jorge Cortell contained aspects of all of these in a particularly vital real–world application – using augmented reality to assist surgery. By projecting the results of scans and modelling of a patient’s organs onto their skin in an operating theatre, surgeons can use much smaller incisions to reach the location where treatment is required, improving both the surgery and the healing process.

Tuesday’s plenary talks considered how virtualising computers and storage can make more efficient use of hardware and environmental resources. Paul Watson described how cloud computing technology is being used to virtualise a server farm, letting researchers run analyses on a "computer" far bigger than any individual project could afford as well as allowing collaborators to work together to plan research and understand results no matter where they are located. Bill St.Arnaud suggested that even more radical virtualisation may be both possible and necessary to allow energy-hungry data centres to be located close to sources of renewable wind, solar or hydro power with the entire service being relocated across the high–speed network in response to the intermittent availability of these energy sources. For those used to building networks and servers to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the idea of designing them to turn off if the sun fails to shine is particularly challenging.

On Wednesday, Stefan Rahmstorf gave a powerful motivation for such measures by presenting recent research on climate change and the urgent need to significantly reduce production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to avoid significant short– and long–term changes to the planet’s climate. Although information and communications technologies can provide a substitute for travel – thereby reducing greenhouse gas production – computers, routers and their associated air conditioning plants are themselves significant consumers of carbon-based energy. William Johnston described the networks currently used by the US Department of Energy to support climate and other research and suggested that current trends in research may produce demands for bandwidth that exceed current technology plans.

In the closing plenary Simone Brunozzi again combined many of the week’s topics in a presentation on Amazon’s use of cloud technologies. Many organisations are now using these services instead of buying their own web servers or storage devices, perhaps reversing the conference theme by moving their information technology from Reality into Virtuality!

Thirty-two parallel sessions provided opportunities for further detailed presentations and discussion of the conference themes. "Users and applications" sessions provided fascinating and inspiring examples of the real world benefits of applying advanced networking technology, from allowing surgeons to watch and discuss the work of experts in their field to collecting observations and models of typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis and combining these with geographical information such as population density and building types to provide decision makers with up-to-date information about the likely severity and extent of any disaster. "Virtual people" examined how authentication technologies and policy agreements can manage access to computing, data and other resources in different organisations across the world as easily as those in the next room, while respecting both users’ privacy and operators’ need to ensure their services are not misused. "Virtual technology" considered the challenges and benefits of inserting a virtualisation layer between users and physical computers and networks to provide both users and operators with greater flexibility. "Support Infrastructure" looked at the technological and organisational systems that will be needed to provide and manage this flexibility, while "Implications" suggested some of the educational, research and social changes, both good and bad, that may result from the gradual move from real-world laboratories, classrooms and social spaces to their virtual on-line equivalents.

Selected Papers

Twelve papers presented in parallel sessions have been selected for this publication. Like the conference, they cover a wide range of topics: virtual networks from a research, operational and user perspective; virtual people in current and future collaborations and applications; and impacts of future research networks on resources and people.

Virtualisation has been proposed as a way to allow many different network architectures to use the same shared infrastructure, thus permitting otherwise incompatible uses such as production traffic, temporary special-purpose links, and disruptive network research to co-exist; however virtualised networks also present significant technological and management challenges. Two papers describe enhancements to the MANTICORE software, which was originally designed to provide users with a logical IP network service: Berna et al in "Extending MANTICORE to manage IP and virtual machine slices in the FEDERICA project" add the ability to handle software routers and virtual machines as well as traditional IP routers, Pons-Camps et al in "Prototype for interoperability between FEDERICA slices and other IP domains by means of the IPSphere Framework" describe a prototype capable of linking these virtual and physical networks and devices into a single virtual network spanning several management domains. Ferrao et al in "Advanced and immediate reservations of virtualised network resources" describe an interface that allows end-users to reserve network paths with specified characteristics across domains, for example to stream an event in HD video. Navrátil et al in "Monitoring of overlay networks with virtual resources" examine the new techniques that are required to incorporate these virtualised networks into traditional network monitoring systems, while Liakopoulos and Zafeiropoulos suggest in "Autonomic monitoring and resource management using p2p techniques" how self-organising techniques used by peer-to-peer networks might in future allow networks to monitor and configure themselves.

In a networked world, individuals expect to use services provided by other organisations and even in other countries as readily as they use the PC on their desk or the server next door. Such services may well have the same requirement to know that a user is authorised, but providing trustworthy evidence of authorisation between organisations or countries is much harder than doing it within a building. Federated technologies and federation agreements bridge this gap, allowing organisations to exchange trusted statements about their users and systems. Linden et al, in "Kalmar Union, a confederation of Nordic identity federations", describes the agreement between federations that will allow users in one country to authenticate to resources in another; while Simonsen and Madsen, in "Trusted third party based ID federation, lowering the bar for connecting and enhancing privacy", explain how the use of a trusted third party has made it easier for organisations to link their existing single-sign-on systems into the Danish national authentication and authorisation federation. Two papers suggest how extensions to existing federations could support new services. Górecka-Wolniewicz and Wolniewicz, in "Identity management of users in eduroam", suggest how an existing RADIUS attribute could be used in the eduroam federation to allow visited locations to deal with individual visitors while preserving their privacy; Lutz and Stiller, in "Applied federation technology: the charging of roaming students" suggest how a SAML federation could be extended to support chargeable services such as printing. Grids can remove geographical and organisational boundaries for both users and services: Frågåt et al, in "Web service-based architecture of new ARC components", explain the principles and architecture of the next generation of the Advanced Resource Connector (ARC) middleware that allow this to be achieved.

Finally, two papers address issues in developing and managing future Research and Education Networks. Tusubira, in "Creating the human and infrastructure research and education networks in Africa", describes the challenges and opportunities for creating RENs in Eastern and Southern Africa and the work of the UbuntuNet Alliance to address them. Van der Pol et al in "Network and capacity planning in SURFnet6" examine how the lightpath services provided by SURFnet are used and how these requirements might be satisfied most efficiently.

Archives of live–streamed speeches, speakers’ slides and other TNC 2009 information are all available via the conference website: We look forward to welcoming you, either in the real or virtual worlds, to TNC2010, which will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, from 31st May to 3rd June, 2010, and at

Andrew Cormack
Programme Committee Chair


(alphabetically by presenting author)

  • Extending MANTICORE to manage IP and virtual machine slices in the FEDERICA project
    Alejandro Berna pdf - 678 Kb
  • Advance and Immediate Reservations of Virtualized Network Resources
    Laia Ferrao pdf - 661 Kb
  • KALMAR Union, a confederation of Nordic identity federations
    Mikael Linden, CSC, the Finnish IT Center for Science pdf - 140 Kb
  • Applied Federation Technology: The Charging of Roaming Students
    David Lutz pdf - 115 Kb
  • The overlaid networks with virtual resources need new forms of monitoring
    Jiri Navrátil pdf - 1.5 Mb
  • Prototype for the interoperability between FEDERICA slices and other IP domains by means of the IPsphere Framework
    Josep Pons pdf - 2 Mb
  • Trusted third party based ID federation, lowering the bar for connecting and enhancing privacy
    David Simonsen pdf - 237 kb
  • The European KNOWARC project
    Peter Stefan pdf - 327 kb
  • Creating the human and infrastructure research and education networks in Africa
    F.F. Tusubira pdf - 2.7 Mb
  • Identity management of users in eduroam
    Tomasz Wolniewicz pdf - 116 kb
  • Autonomic Monitoring and Resource Management using P2P techniques
    Anastasios Zafeiropoulos pdf - 414 Kb
  • Network and Capacity Planning in SURFnet6
    Ronald van der Pol pdf - 664 Kb
TNC 2009 Programme Committee
Andrew Cormack JANET(UK) United Kingdom
Hansruedi Born SWITCH Switzerland
Jurgen Rauschenbach DFN Germany
Jacqueline Brown Pacific Northwest Gigapop USA
Baiba Kaskina IMCS UL, SigmaNet Latvia
Andras Kovacs NIIF / HUNGARNET Hungary
Ligia Ribeiro University of Porto Portugal
Melanie Pankhurst DANTE
Victoriano Giralt University of Málaga Spain
Peter Szegedi TERENA
Esther Robles RedIRIS Spain
Serge Droz SWITCH Switzerland
TERENA support  
Miroslav Milinovic TERENA VP Conferences Srce, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Karel Vietsch TERENA
Bert van Pinxteren TERENA
Gyöngyi Horváth TERENA