Today's Internet, based on the "narrow waist" of IP, has been an immense success, leading to significant innovation in new applications and services at the network edge. However, evolving the underlying network architecture is remarkably difficult, leading to a fairly brittle infrastructure that is insecure, difficult to manage, and at times unreliable. This talk argues that virtualization offers a way to build flexible, evolvable networks for the future. First, network virtualization allows us to build experimental facilities, such as the proposed GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations) initiative, that would allow many researchers to evaluate prototypes of new network architectures in parallel. Second, network virtualization may be a viable long-term platform for supporting multiple network architectures, each customized to particular applications or users.
In this talk, we will describe the design and implementation of our VINI testbed, and the deployment in the National Lambda Rail and Abilene Internet2 backbones. We will also discuss how network virtualization enables an economic refactoring of the Internet into infrastructure providers (who manage the physical infrastructure and "lease" virtual nodes and links) and service providers (who construct virtual networks to offer end-to-end services).