Microservice platforms have brought many advantages to support the deployment of light-weight applications at both near the edge and data centers. Still, their suitability to support telecommunication and vertical services beyond the network edge is far from being a reality. On one hand, their flat networking approach does not support the establishment of link-layer connectivity among the different components of telecommunication and vertical services (e.g., access points, routers, specific-purpose servers, etc.) due to their reliance on high-level APIs. On the other hand, their networking approach has not been designed to operate over ad hoc networks built by the resource-constrained devices that may be available beyond the network edge. This can lead to suboptimal behaviors for the delivery of data traffic between microservices. This article presents the results of a research collaboration between Universidad Carlos III of Madrid and Telefónica: L2S-M. Our solution provides a programmable data plane that enables the establishment of on-demand link layer connectivity between microservices on ad hoc networks. This solution has the flexibility to execute different algorithms to build traffic paths between microservices, as well as to react against temporary link breakdowns, which could be present in these types of networks. The article presents a proof of concept for a functional validation of L2S-M, using an aerial ad hoc network deployed at 5TONIC Laboratory in collaboration with Telefonica. The validation results showcase the proper operation of L2S-M as a networking service for microservice platforms in ad hoc networks, including its ability to reconfigure the programmable data plane when link disruptions occur.
IEEE Network ( Volume: 36, Issue: 1, January/February 2022)