Stanford Networking Seminar

12:15PM, Thursday February 11, 2010
Packard 202

Towards Systematic Design and Configuration of Enterprise Networks

Sanjay G. Rao
Purdue University

About the talk:
Enterprise networks are important, with size and complexity even surpassing carrier networks. Yet, the design of enterprise networks is ad-hoc and poorly understood. Further, the inherently complex high-level policies that operators have for their networks are realized through thousands of low-level device configurations. Configuring networks is error-prone given the huge mismatch between operator objectives and low-level configurations. Recent surveys show that 80% of the IT budget in enterprises is devoted to managing networks, yet, configuration errors account for 62% of network downtime, and enable over 65% of cyber-attacks. In this talk, I will describe our research on systematic approaches to the design and configuration of enterprise networks. Our approach centers around abstracting key enterprise design tasks in ways that (i) capture the high level operator goals of a network design (e.g., performance, security, or resilience); and (ii) capture the requirements of the network as a whole rather than of individual devices. The abstractions developed are based on studies of actual network designs, and iterative interactions with operators. The abstractions lead to formulations that model each enterprise design task as one of optimizing desired criteria subject to the correctness and feasibility constraints on the design. I will show how a systematic design approach can handle complex and time-consuming areas of enterprise design: VLANs, reachability control, and migrating enterprise applications to cloud-based architectures. I will also talk about our work on modeling and analysis of Class of Service (CoS) policies in enterprise networks. Business and economic considerations are driving the extensive use of service differentiation in Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) operated for business enterprises today. I will first describe the the prevalence of CoS, and the complexity inherent in managing CoS configuration, a topic that is little known outside the operational community. I will then present a formal approach to modeling CoS policies from router configuration files in a precise manner. I will describe a tool built based on the approach, and its value in enabling applications such as troubleshooting, auditing, and visualization of network-wide designs.

About the speaker:
Sanjay G. Rao is an Assistant Professor in the ECE Department at Purdue University, where he leads the Internet Systems Laboratory. His research interests are in Networking, more specifically in Peer-to-Peer systems, and Network Management. He received the Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and the Ph.D from the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. He was a visiting researcher in the Network Measurement and Management group at AT&T Research in Summer 2006. He has played a leadership role in the End System Multicast project - the project pioneers P2P live-streaming, which is now a mainstream research area and an emerging commercial sector. He is a recipient of the NSF Career award, and his research has been funded by NSF, Cisco, and AT&T. He has served on the Technical Program Committees of several workshops and conferences including ACM Sigcomm, IEEE Infocom and ACM CoNext, and is the technical program co-chair of the INM/WREN workshop (on Internet Network Management and enterprise networks) to be held in conduction with NSDI 2010.

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