One of the objectives of the Smart5Grid platform is to provide a common place for application developers and consumers within the market of energy grid applications. Towards this goal, Smart5Grid is developing a platform for facilitating the development, verification, and validation of Network Applications (NetApps). These tested Network Applications will be made available in a repository for consumers to use.
This platform and the infrastructure upon which Network Applications are deployed constitutes the overall Smart5Grid reference architecture, which is logically divided into three main layers:
- The first layer, that we call the Smart5Grid platform, contains the Open Service Repository (OSR), the Verification and Validation (V&V) framework, and the platform interfaces from which users have access to them.
- The layer containing the virtualization and telecommunications infrastructure, with its associated management and orchestration functions, constitutes the second layer.
- The third one, the energy infrastructure, contains the grid components that connect to the Network Application services.
List of Acronyms
API -Application Programming Interface
V&V – verification and validation
M&O -management and orchestration
A&A – Authentication & Authorisation
VNF – Virtual Network Function
MECO – Multi-access Edge Computing Orchestrator
RAN – Radio Access Network
NFVO – Network Function Virtualization Orchestrator
VIM – Virtual Infrastructure Manager
CN – Core Network
NFVI – Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure
HIL – Hardware-in-the Loop
Smart5Grid platform layer
The platform layer is the uppermost part of the architecture, meaning that it is the point of entry of users to the Smart5Grid facility and where it opens for 3 rd parties. This point of entry is provided by the User Interface which, in essence, consists of a web application that manages the authorisation and authentication of users and provides access to the services offered by the exposed APIs of the other two components of this layer, namely, the OSR and the V&V framework.
The OSR enables developers to register their Network Applications and virtual network functions (VNFs), making them available for consumers to download and deploy over their infrastructures.
Developers can also benefit from VNFs authored by other developers and combine them with their own applications forming new Network Applications.
Before the Network Applications and VNFs are stored in the OSR, they must undergo a testing process that provides guarantees on said Network Applications to the consumers. This testing is realized by another critical component of Smart5Grid, the V&V framework. The V&V framework provides the platform with a tool that enables automated testing of Network Applications in two senses:
- Verification, which ensures that the Network Application packages and all its components and files are well formed, syntactically correct and complete.
- Validation, which performs tests on live instances of Network Applications guaranteeing that they can perform their function with the required performance levels. The validation phase of the Network Applications is supported by the Network Function Virtualization (NFV)/Telecommunication (Telco) layer described below.
NFV / Telco layer
This layer contains the required computing and networking systems that enable the deployment of Network Applications for its validation by the V&V framework. It is subdivided in two parts: the Management and Orchestration (M&O) framework, and the NFV/Multiaccess Edge Computing (MEC)/Telco Infrastructure itself.
The M&O framework is responsible of managing the end-to-end lifecycle of a Network Application deployment. It also provides services to cover all aspects of the complete lifecycle, including onboarding, instantiation, monitoring, scaling, and termination.
The required NFV/MEC/Telco infrastructure is of two kinds primarily: computing and networking. The computing infrastructure is utilized by the M&O framework to deploy the
software components in the form of containers that constitute a Network Application. This computing infrastructure can be centrally located or placed at the edge to benefit from reduced latency
communications. The networking infrastructure is formed of networking nodes in both access and core domains such as 5G gNodeBs 1 and 5G Core Network functions, which may be configured to meet the traffic demands of a Network Application.
Smart energy grid layer
The Energy Infrastructure layer is composed of a heterogeneous set of devices from across the generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption network segments, as well as any other auxiliary devices that may be required for operating and maintaining the grid, such as cameras or sensors. These devices are the ultimate subject of the function performed by the Network Applications. Through the Telco network, devices are able to reach the NFV infrastructure where the Network Application components are executed and connect to their offered services.
Furthermore, Smart5Grid integrates a Real-Time Hardware-In-the Loop (RT-HIL) testing infrastructure which enables the setup of a digital twin of a power system and integrates it
with real devices. This infrastructure is pivotal in the pre-pilot testing and validation phase of the software solutions developed.
For more detailed information, please, check deliverables D2.2 and D3.1