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Stanford University Networking Seminar


Aditya Akella (UW Madison)
OpenNF: Enabling Innovation in Network Function Control

12:15pm, Thursday, May 29, 2014
Gates 104

About the Talk

The benefits of using software network functions (NFs), also called middleboxes, and software-defined networking (SDN) together is greater than the sum of parts. Operators can deploy novel management applications to optimally meet performance, security, availability, and cost objectives for their networks. However, such applications need the ability to effectively manage the distributed processing happening at multiple NF instances in a deployment. We argue that this requires a framework that provides precise, joint control over both the traffic forwarded to and the internal state maintained at each NF instance. To this end, we design a control plane called OpenNF. Our design faces several challenges: how to allow applications sufficient flexibility in the objectives they optimize, how to accommodate several types of NFs, and how to avoid possible race conditions when exercising joint control. We address these through careful design of APIs, and two novel constructs — an event abstraction and a two-phase forwarding update. Our evaluation shows that OpenNF offers generally efficient state control without compromising application flexibility, and requires modest additions to NFs with minimal impact on NF performance.

About the Speaker

Aditya Akella is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his PhD in Computer Science from CMU in 2005, and his B. Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Madras in 2000. Aditya's research spans a variety of topics in computer networking and systems, including software defined networing, data center networking, video quality of experience, network management, and future network architectures. He has published over 50 papers in leading conferences including SIGCOMM and NSDI, and has served as the program chair for IMC, HotSDN and HotNets. He is a founding PI of the Wisconsin Institute for Software Defined Data Centers in Madison (WISDoM). Aditya is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award (2008), the NSF Future Internet Architecture Grant (2010), the NetApp Faculty Fellowship (2010), the IBM PhD Fellowship (2003-2005), and several best paper awards (CoNEXT’13, SOCC’13, IMC’10 and COMSNETS’09 and ’10).