FELIX, a collaborative FIRE project of EU and Japanese researchers from academia and industry, has successfully launched initiatives to strengthen international research cooperation and standardisation in the field of software defined networking.

I strongly believe in the impact of collaborative research, especially when researching the future of a truly global infrastructure such as the Internet.  Our FIRE (Future Internet Research and Experimentation) initiative features a number of EU projects cooperating with researchers and experimenters around the world in a bid to develop the technologies and standards that will drive the Internet of tomorrow.

One of our projects representing this collaborative approach is FELIX (FEderated Test-beds for Large-scale Infrastructure eXperiments). Focusing on software-defined networking (SDN), the project is co-funded by the EU and Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Next to building a European-Japanese large-scale test-bed for experiment-driven Internet research FELIX also aims to contribute to common standards in the area of SDN, for example in the Network Service Interface Working Group of the Open Grid Forum (OGF-NSI WG).

Software-defined networking helps data centres manage networks in a more flexible and efficient manner. With the rise of cloud services this has become increasingly important as data centres need to deal with huge amounts of data.

From my point of view, what makes FELIX stand out is their commitment to extend research collaboration towards other world regions.

Earlier this year, Bartosz Belter from the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center, EU coordinator of FELIX, was invited to a workshop in Miami, Florida, organised by Internet2, one of the major U.S. research networks. It was a technically focused workshop aimed to initiate a dialogue among OpenFlow/SDN test-bed developers and providers to share best practices and solutions.

With Internet2 connecting leading U.S. and international research centres, the FELIX presentation was a major step towards strengthened collaboration in SDN research and the global alignment of SDN test-bed development.

To this end, the project has just released a whitepaper on the FELIX architecture. The architecture is a strong foundation for the interoperability of large-scale Future Internet experimental facilities as it allows researchers to set up a global SDN test-bed without having to control all the networks in between.

I consider FELIX a good example of fruitful collaboration between world regions who are leading the way in ICT research. Their commitment to the promotion of common standards and global collaboration leads to a myriad of opportunities for European companies and start-ups as they help shape a global ICT market.

Read more about FELIX on their website.