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Systems Seminar - CSE

It's the Content, Stupid. How Content is driving Network Evolution.

Kobus Van der MerwePrincipal Member of Technical StaffInternet and Networking Systems Research Center at AT&T Labs - Research

Security and robustness, operational complexity and dealing with demand growth are arguably the most significant challenges facing large scale networks. In this talk I will show how Internet growth is driven by significant increases in content related traffic. Efficiently dealing with the distribution of this content presents a significant challenge to service providers. I will present our work on load-aware anycast which offers a cross-layer approach to content distribution (considering both content and network layers). This work is currently being readied for trial in the AT&T network and directly builds on our earlier work on Closed-loop Route Control where route selection is informed by network intelligence. As such the work presents a successful case study on the transition from research concept to production. However, this work also serves to illustrate how difficult it is to make this transition, or indeed more generally, how difficult it is to effect any change in a provider network.

In the second part of my talk I will present our recent work on a platform called ShadowNet. With ShadowNet we aim to address this fundamental challenge of network change by introducing an operational trial/test network which "sits between" a lab testbed and the production network. Specifically, each ShadowNet node is composed of a collection of carrier-grade equipment (routers, switches and servers). Each node is connected to both the Internet and other ShadowNet nodes via a (virtual) backbone. ShadowNet exploits the strong separation between logical functionality and physical realization that if offered by modern equipment. As such ShadowNet is a sharable, programmable and composable infrastructure, that allows multiple technology and service trials to be executed in parallel in a realistic operational setting. I will describe the ShadowNet control framework, our prototype implementation and deployment plans.
Kobus Van der Merwe is a Principal Member of Technical Staff in the Internet and Networking Systems Research Center at AT&T Labs – Research, where he is fortunate to be doing networking systems research that are both forward looking and sometimes find application in the AT&T network. His current research interests include network management, control and operation, network security and content distribution.

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