Stuart Byma, TridentCom 2014: “A taste of things to come”

Stuart Byma, PhD student at the  Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), was part of the team from the University of Toronto, which presented an interesting paper on SAVI Networks at TridentCom 2014, the 9th International Conference on Testbeds and Research Infrastructures for the Development of Networks and Communities. In our interview, he talked to us about the main contribution of his research to the field of Computer Infrastructures and about the future of the SAVI network.

Your paper has been presented at TridentCom 2014. What do you think to be the main contribution of your research to the domain of IT Infrastructure?

FPGAs and reconfigurable hardware are not traditionally associated with Infrastructure as a Service or cloud computing. This paper shows that not only it is possible to view FPGAs as virtualized resources, but it is also possible to integrate them into existing management systems.

The application examples in the paper are also but a taste of things to come. CPU performance scaling is continually held back predominantly by power constraints — FPGAs and reconfigurable hardware are quickly becoming an attractive solution for adding significant compute power without breaking the power budget. We predict that in the coming years this type of technology and architecture will become much more commonplace in datacenters and large-scale infrastructures.

Dr. Stuart Byma, Best Paper Award at TridentCom 2014
Stuart Byma, PhD student, TridentCom 2014

What are the plans for the future of the SAVI network? And what are the most important areas in which it can be useful?

SAVI Network has just been federated with GENI. The next steps are to deploy more applications especially to explore Internet of Things and applications for future Smart Cities.

One of the main applications running on the SAVI platform is Connected Vehicles and Smart Transportation (CVST) project. We would like to build on experiences gained from CVST and SAVI to make a smarter platform suitable for future Smart Cities and Internet of Things.

In what directions researchers in the field of Infrastructures for the Development of Networks and Communities should move, in your opinion?

We believe Infrastructures should further embrace Virtualization not only for compute and storage and networks but also for (Wireless) Access, HW Acceleration units, Graphic Processing Units and optical networks (access and wide area).

Moreover, Infrastructure provider should focus more on delivering guaranteed QoS, especially for sensitive applications that require strict response time.

To achieve this, they should provide virtualized Smart Edges similar to edge nodes explored by the SAVI project.