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Systems Seminar - CSE

A Routing Control Platform for IP Networks

Jennifer Rexford

Despite the early design goal of minimizing the complexity of network elements, tremendous amounts of state and logic are distributed across routers and management platforms in today's IP networks. The many, loosely-coordinated actors that create and manipulate the distributed state make it extremely difficult for network operators to manage their networks. Instead, we advocate moving the decision logic for running the network from the individual routers into a separate management platform, leaving routers simply to disseminate timely information about the network and forward data packets based on explicit instructions from the management system. In this talk, we argue that this approach would simplify network management and enable new services. Then, we describe a way to migrate to the new network-management architecture while remaining backwards compatible with the installed base of IP routers. Experiments with our prototype implementation show that a Routing Control Platform built from commodity components is fast and reliable enough to select routes for hundreds of routers in a large ISP network. We believe that this new approach will enable much-needed innovation in network management and, ultimately, in the design of routers and switches as well.
Jennifer Rexford is a Professor in the Computer Science department at Princeton University. From 1996-2004, she was a member of the Network Management and Performance department at AT&T Labs–Research. Her research focuses on Internet routing, network measurement, and network management, with the larger goal of making data networks easier to design, understand, and manage. Jennifer is co-author of the book "web Protocols and Practice" (Addison-Wesley, May 2001). Jennifer serves as the chair of ACM SIGCOMM, and as a member of the ACM Council and the CRA Board of Directors. She received her BSE degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1991, and her MSE and PhD degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1993 and 1996, respectively. She was the winner of ACM's Grace Murray Hopper Award for outstanding young computer professional of the year for 2004.

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