Testbeds are an increasingly popular research tool, as they provide a convenient middle point between simulation and deployment in the real world. Testbeds require, however, a great deal of investment from their owners, not only in terms of hardware and maintenance, but also in terms of developing the proper management tools and user support.
Federation comes in handy in this situation; it is an opportunity to optimize the use of the testbed: it becomes part of a bigger user community. But also, through federation, communities of administrators and developers are given the opportunity to interact and learn from each other.
Federation is a chance for testbeds to combine their capabilities, enabling richer and more powerful experiments, where several technologies and applications can be integrated. It is also beneficial for researchers, since it reduces the overhead in configuring experiments and eases the migration of experiments, making possible the comparison of results.
In Confine, the deployment of a functional testbed has been our first priority, but on the decisions taken during its design, federation has been kept in mind, so that the efforts needed to federate Confine with other testbeds are mitigated. On the next sections we will detail the foundations of Slice-based Federation Architecture (SFA), the most relevant achievement that has been made in the federation of testbeds, and we will explain how Confine architecture relates to it and the efforts done to bring closer our solution to it.
The Community-Lab testbed provides a SFA interface for federation with other testbeds. The SFA-compliant interface is provided by a wrapper implemented on top of the REST API, and it can be used to interact with the testbed in a federation scenario.
Besides the generic federation of Confine testbeds with other testbeds via SFA, a lighter mechanism for the federation of Confine testbeds among themselves has been proposed that leverages the CONFINE REST API and follows the same basic design principles as the testbed themselves.