LTB – Lab Topology Builder
Setting up lab networks for practicals, exercises and courses at the Institute for Network and Security of the OST is a time-consuming task. Until now, there were either statically wired lab networks on which only limited network topologies could be realised, or virtual ones that had to be laboriously provisioned by hand.
The LTB (Lab Topology Builder) is a platform for automated provisioning of virtual network topologies consisting of virtual machines, routers, switches and Docker containers.
These virtual labs are mainly used in different modules of the INS to create an identical and as realistic as possible environment for all students. This means that no special physical devices are needed. On the other hand, larger network topologies can be created with these labs, which are needed for research projects.
Originally developed from a student research project and continuously refined at the institute, the LTB has become an important tool for teaching.
The aim of the tool is to provide a platform that allows lab templates to be created with a specific topology and configuration, which can then be provisioned many times over.
In addition to multi-tenancy capability, resource planning and the calendar-controlled provisioning and deprovisioning of virtual network topologies, the LTB offers numerous other features that simplify the handling of labs.
The components of the LTB are based on open source projects. KVM and Docker are used for virtualisation.
The virtual cables between the devices are realised using Open vSwitch. Separation by means of VLANs allows the connections between the devices to be separated from each other. 802.1Q tunneling (Q-in-Q) ensures that all data traffic is forwarded.
The software stack consists of a Django Python backend that handles all the orchestration of the labs and a React single-page application that provides the a userinterface to schedule labs.