[The Mantychore project is a very exciting new initiative funded under the European FP7 program. It builds on earlier work in Europe called Manticore and ultimately on pioneering concepts at Canada’s Communication Research Center called UCLP, funded originally by CANARIE. Mantychore plans to deploy pre-production facilities to enable virtual networks supporting a number of virtual organizations in Europe including the Nordic Health Data Network, the British Advance High Quality Media Services and the Irish Grid effort. An important part of the partnership is collaborating with Canada’s Greenstar to insure the facilities are low or zero carbon. This work will also be critical for deploying 5G networks. Ultimately these virtual network services will be available as part of research and education collaborative tool sets such as SURFnet COIN -- BSA]
Current National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Europe provide connectivity services to their main customers: the research and education community. Traditionally these services have been delivered on a manual basis, although some efforts towards automating the service setup and operation have been initiated. At the same time, more focus is being put in the ability of the community to control some characteristics of these connectivity services, so that users can change some of the service characteristics without having to renegotiate with the service provider.
The Mantychore FP7  project wants to consolidate this trend and allow the NRENs to provide a complete, flexible IP network service that allows research communities to create an IP network under their control, where they can configure:
i) Layer 1, Optical links. Users will be able to get permissions over optical devices like optical switches, and configure some important properties of its cards and ports. Mantychore will integrate the Argia framework  which provides complete control of optical resources.
ii) Layer 2, Ethernet and MPLS. Users will be able to get permission over Ethernet and MPLS (Layer 2.5) switches, and configure different services. In this aspect, Mantychore will integrate ETHER project and its capabilities for the management of Ethernet and MPLS resources.
iii) Layer 3, Mantychore FP7 suite includes set of features for:
1. Configuration of virtual networks.
2. Configuration of physical interfaces.
3. Support of routing protocols, both internal (RIP, OSPF) and external (BGP).
4. Support of QoS and firewall services.
5. Creation, modification and deletion of virtual resources: logical interfaces, logical routers.
6. Support of IPv6. It allows the configuration of IPv6 in interfaces, routing protocols, networks,
. Mantychore FP7 will carry out pre-operational deployments of the IP network service at two NRENS: HEAnet  and NORDUnet . Initially three communities of researchers will benefit from this service: the Nordic Health Data Network, the British Advance High Quality Media Services and the Irish Grid effort . Part of the project effort will be dedicated to consolidate and enhance the community of providers (NRENs but also commercial) and users of the IP network service. It includes a first phase to get requirements of each Mantychore users, and a second phase to define necessary use cases.
In order to improve IaaS service some alternative but very interesting topics will be researched. Framed as Joint Research Activities (JRAs), an infrastructure resource marketplace and the use of renewable energy sources to power e-Infrastructures will be liaised, enriching both the user community and the roadmap of the Mantychore project.
A marketplace provides a single venue that facilitates the sharing of information about resources and services between providers and customers. It provides an interface through which consumers are able to access the discovered resources from their respective providers. The Mantychore FP7 marketplace represents a virtual resource pool that provides a unified platform in which multiple infrastructure providers can advertise their network resources and characteristics to be discovered by potential consumers of the resource. Thus, the Marketplace involves three types of entities. (a) the customers that use the resources. These customers may be end-users, service providers or other providers who wish to extend their point of presence, (b) the infrastructure providers, that provide information about the state of their underlying infrastructure to satisfy the demands of customers, and (c) the matchmaking entity that is used to lookup and locate relevant resources as requested by the customer. The matchmaking entity mediates among the providers and the customer and uses a matching algorithm that parses requests into queries, evaluates the queries over the resources in the marketplace repository and returns the relevant resources. These algorithms are implemented on a generic manner using quality of service parameters suitable to both Layer 3, 2 and 1.
Also, as a part of a JRA, the Mantychore FP7 project will start collaborating with the GreenStar Network project (GSN) , a CANARIE  funded initiative. The GSN project will develop a practical carbon footprint exchange standard for Information & Communication Technology (ICT) services, will carry out studies on the feasibility of powering e-Infrastructures with unstable renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind, and will also develop management & technical policies that leverage virtualization to migrate virtual infrastructure resources from one site to another based on power availability to facilitate use of renewable energy within the GreenStar Network. The principal objective of this collaboration relies on providing an IaaS management tool and integrating the NREN infrastructures with the GSN network that is formed by a set of green nodes where each one is powered by renewable energy source. The benefits obtained from this collaboration are reflected on the emergence of new and rare use cases where energy considerations are taken into account. Among other topics of research, how to move virtual services without suffering connectivity interruptions and how the physical location can influence in that relocation.
In addition to the two JRA, NA3 is working towards incorporating new users and communities to enrich the user base. The Mantychore FP7 project is committed to incorporate as much viewpoints and uses as possible in order to reach a more complete and valuable software and expertise pool. In that regard, and taking to account that the project is developed inside a research framework, coordination channels and infrastructure tools have been setup around an open model that not only allows but welcomes expert participation at all levels. For this reason, the project resources (technical discussions, contributions, official documents) are open and available for any interested individual or community to join. In addition, Mantychore FP7 is very much open to receive feedback and collaborations with other research fields.
Bill St. Arnaud
- Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bill_Arnaud