Gaia-X project defines network architecture for Euro cloud, edge services

Gaia-X project defines network architecture for Euro cloud, edge services

The Gaia-X project Tellus, led by Internet Exchange (IX) operator DE-CIX, has defined its technical architecture for current use cases. This network infrastructure will leverage existing Internet infrastructure and add a software layer for critical use cases.

“Future-oriented digital services can no longer simply be executed in one location and in one data center,” says Dr. Christoph Dietzel, the head of global products and research at DE-CIX and the project leader for Tellus. “These require interconnection across different cloud services and data sources, all the way to the end user.”

The Tellus consortium is funded with 8.75 million euros from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The various use cases include the real-time creation of digital twins for machines/plants in Industry 4.0 and transmitting motion stimuli to robots.

As a result, a technical architecture of integrated software instances and homogeneous interfaces was developed, forming a software-based networking layer (cross-domain SDN). This layer leverages public internet infrastructure to make connecting easier for users through automated matchmaking with reliable providers and the assurance of quality performance.

“The more modern and innovative the services, the higher the demands on this interconnection in terms of performance and security,” adds Dietzel. “The technical Tellus architecture now presented will make this interconnection possible — and it will be uncomplicated and automated, with guaranteed performance and security.”

The system’s technical architecture is based on a hierarchical concept with each participant hosting a Super Node and Tellus Nodes. By utilizing a service registry that houses information on performance assurances and security standards, the Super Node can pinpoint the optimal route for each use case. It then compares these entries with the needs of the specific use case and automatically matches them to suitable providers.

The next milestones for the project include the completion of the network and cloud layer design for summer 2023 and the implementation phase for fall 2024.

Gaia-X was originally formed in 2020 to create a secure, open and European-based infrastructure, in contrast to the current system of global cloud giants based in the US and China. That said, the organization has faced some setbacks since its origin. For example, one of its founding members, Scaleway, owned by Iliad, left Gaia-X. As Scaleway exited, they harshly denounced the organization, proclaiming that the project would only perpetuate existing inequalities and empower big players to remain in control.

Gaia-X has continued to move forward and the Tellus prototype is expected to be completed by late 2024.

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