Gaia-X Project Tellus Reaches Development Milestone

Tellus, the Gaia-X development project led by internet exchange (IX) operator DE-CIX, has reached a milestone: The technical architecture definition for use cases has been completed. The project goal is to develop and deploy a Gaia-X-compliant network infrastructure for critical use cases that leverages internet infrastructure and adds a software layer.

An operational prototype for this software-based network infrastructure is expected to be ready by the end of 2024.

The project is supported by a consortium of 10 companies and organizations, with funding of around 8.75 million euros provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

In a first step, the Tellus consortium defined specific use cases that are characterized by high requirements in terms of the interconnection of different parties – for example, connecting to various cloud services and digital resources. These include the real-time creation of the “digital twin” of machines and plants in Industry 4.0 and the transmission of motion stimuli to robots.

On the basis of these requirement profiles, the project team has designed the technical architecture, consisting of integrated software instances and homogeneous interfaces. This is intended to create a software-based networking layer (cross-domain SDN) that is based on the technical foundation of the public internet but that reduces complexity for connections through automatic matchmaking with appropriate providers and enables performance guarantees.

A core of the technical architecture is a hierarchical concept with a super node, and in addition Tellus Nodes hosted by each participant. The super node takes over the calculation in each case of the best route. To do this, it uses a service registry in which other providers register their services along with the performance guaranteed and security requirements fulfilled.

The super node then compares these entries with the requirement profile for the respective use case and automatically takes over the matchmaking with suitable providers. The super node is a logically centralized component, but it can be physically distributed across different systems.

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