The FP7-STReP-Project "NetIDE" aims to provide an integrated development environment (IDE) to support the development process of applications in the field of software-defined networking. It started off in January 2014 and will run for three years.

Software-defined networking

Software-defined Networking (SDN) is a novel approach to manage enterprise and ISP networks. The general idea of SDN is lies in the decoupling of the control plane and the data plane. That way, the decision how to cope with which data packages is made on a piece of hardware separate from network devices (e.g. Switches, Routers, etc.). These decisions are propagated to the network devices via a unified interface enabling software-driven configuration of all network devices from a global unit (controller). This drastically increases the ease-of-use and flexibility of network configuration compared to current networks in which devices have to be configured manually.

Currently, there are already different SDN-specific interface specifications for network devices. Aside from the popular and open specification OpenFlow, proprietary solutions exist as well. In the last couple of years, many different platforms and frameworks for programming controllers have arisen as well. This leads to a lack of portability of network applications. Also, there is a lack of methodologies and tools for a structured way of developing software in the SDN context.

Contribution of NetIDE

NetIDE will tackle the aforementioned issues as follows:

  • Provide a methodology for the development of network applications. This includes requirement engineering, design, implementation, test and simulation, and deployment.
  • Enable developers to program in their favourite network programming language and deploy the program on arbitrary platforms. NetIDE will achieve this by transforming network programs into a platform-independent intermediate representation format (IRF) and generating code for the needed platforms.
  • Provide a network app engine that generates debug information and evaluates the performance of network applications. Also, garbage collection in the SDN context will be supported.


 Organisation of the Project

The EU FP7 STReP Project NetIDE started in January 2014 and will run for three years at a total cost of 4,5 Million Euros. From the university of Padeborn, the Software Engineering Group around Jun.-Prof. Steffen and the Computer Network Group around Prof. Holger Karl will participate in the project.

Further project partners are: CREATE-NET (Italy), Telefónica I&D (Spain), IMDEA (Spain), THALES Communications (France), CZ.Nic (Czech Republic), Fujitsu (Germany) and Intel (Ireland).