Optimising traffic handling in cloud environments for cyber security

Author: Kostas Kavoussanakis
Posted: 26 Nov 2019 | 13:38

Illuminate Technologies works with EPCC and Intel® on a collaborative project funded by Scottish Enterprise under the CodeOpt Scotland programme to actively seek out innovative performance-enhancing, packet-processing approaches within the type of Cloud environment expected to be seen in 5G deployments.

Illuminate Technologies provides innovative capabilities for cyber-threat detection, legal compliance for critical communications infrastructure, and public safety, focusing on telecommunications networks. This project aims to establish a realistic, carrier-grade, Cloud environment, using standard components such as the OpenStack Cloud operating system and state-of-the-art, performance-enhancing tools like the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). This will be used to establish a benchmark for data-traffic processing against which further enhancements can be measured. These enhancements will use emerging programmable networking approaches, optimised for a Cloud environment.

The partners in this project have gained valuable experience in overcoming challenges in setting up the benchmarking environment. The nature of these problems is to be expected in such a rapidly evolving technology space. This pace of evolution clearly needs to continue in order to deliver low-latency, high-capacity 5G services.

With its core Research & Development centre based in Edinburgh, Illuminate Technologies values the opportunity to collaborate in industry projects with leading companies and centres of technical excellence to develop a sustainable knowledge base in Scotland for innovative cyber security products and the CodeOpt Scotland programme brings in technical expertise from EPCC and Intel®. With the project currently at its early stages, EPCC has delivered a dedicated testbed for the project, with a customised version of OpenStack that explores advanced DPDK configurations. EPCC has also developed early versions of the code that will next be optimised.

Intel® and EPCC have collaborated on accelerating network traffic on the EPCC testbed and Intel® has secured access to suitable larger-scale testbeds for further experimentation at the later stages of the project. Numerous insights have been delivered to Illuminate Technologies in what is already a very close collaboration, and Illuminate Technologies has developed new know-how, including improved methods for synthesising realistic network traffic patterns. The project runs until January 2020.

“Illuminate Technologies is ensuring its solutions are well matched to the industry’s shift towards Cloud technology and the roll out of new communications networks. This partnership project gives us a competitive edge by providing an opportunity to push technology boundaries and evolve our Edinburgh-based expertise for creating new products.” 
Roy Macnaughton, VP Engineering, Illuminate Technologies


“This collaboration with Illuminate Technologies and Intel® expands EPCC’s world-class systems engineering expertise into the area of cybersecurity. We are now working to optimise the performance of the code, taking it beyond the current state of the art.”
Mark Parsons, Director, EPCC

CodeOpt Scotland

The project was part-funded by the CodeOpt Scotland programme, which was designed to increase company competitiveness by optimising the performance of business-critical software. CodeOpt Scotland is a partnership of EPCC, Scottish Enterprise and Intel®.


Jeremy Fuller, R&D Project Manager, Illuminate Technologies

Kostas Kavoussanakis, EPCC


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