Network programmability

Computer networks are hard to manage. Given a set of high-level requirements (e.g., connectivity, security, reliability), networks operators have to coordinate the individual behavior of potentially thousands of devices running complex distributed protocols so that they, collectively, compute a compatible forwarding state. If this was not hard enough, even specifying the behavior of a single device is hard as operators can only rely on low-level (and quite arcane) configuration languages which vary not only across vendors, but also across devices type. Not surprisingly, this obvious complexity leads to many human mistakes. Actually, it has been shown that the majority of the network downtimes are caused by humans, not equipment failures.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) has emerged in the recent years as a way to radically change this situation, by making networks programmable from a single (logical) vantage point. Specifically, network programmability is concerned with developing high-level programming interfaces to specify network-wide forwarding behavior along with compilers and controller systems that enforce these requirements at runtime by translating them into low-level instructions (e.g. forwarding entries, routing configurations, routing announcements). Managing a network this way enables operators to focus on what they want, rather than how to implement it.

In the last few years our group has taken pioneering steps to bring programmability into existing networks. With Fibbing, we showed how to program any network by leveraging internal routing protocols as programming interface. Fibbing won the SIGCOMM best paper award along with an Applied Networking Research Prize. With SDX, we brought programmability to Internet routing via Internet eXchange Points. SDX won the NSDI community award and few IXPs have trial deployments of the SDX controller. Finally, with SyNET, we proposed the first solution to the configuration synthesis problem involving multiple protocols.

People

Projects

Fibbing

http://fibbing.net 

Recordings

Publications

Config2Spec: Mining Network Specifications from Network Configurations

Rüdiger Birkner, Dana Drachsler Cohen, Laurent Vanbever, Martin Vechev

USENIX NSDI 2020. Santa Clara, California, USA (February 2020).

SP-PIFO: Approximating Push-In First-Out Behaviors using Strict-Priority Queues

Albert Gran Alcoz, Alexander Dietmüller, Laurent Vanbever

USENIX NSDI 2020. Santa Clara, California, USA (February 2020).

(Self) Driving Under the Influence: Intoxicating Adversarial Network Inputs

Roland Meier, Thomas Holterbach, Stephan Keck, Matthias Stähli, Vincent Lenders, Ankit Singla, Laurent Vanbever

ACM HotNets 2019. Princeton, NJ, USA (November 2019).

Hardware-Accelerated Network Control Planes

Edgar Costa Molero, Stefano Vissicchio, Laurent Vanbever

ACM HotNets 2018. Redmond, WA, USA (November 2018).

NetComplete: Practical Network-Wide Configuration Synthesis with Autocompletion

Ahmed El-Hassany, Petar Tsankov, Laurent Vanbever, Martin Vechev

USENIX NSDI 2018. Renton, Washington, USA (April 2018).

Network-wide Configuration Synthesis.

Ahmed El-Hassany, Petar Tsankov, Laurent Vanbever, Martin Vechev

CAV 2017. Heidelberg, Germany (July 2017).

SDX-Based Flexibility or Internet Correctness? Pick Two!

Rüdiger Birkner, Arpit Gupta, Nick Feamster, Laurent Vanbever

ACM SOSR 2017. Santa Clara, CA, USA (April 2017).

An Industrial-Scale Software Defined Internet Exchange Point.

Arpit Gupta, Robert MacDavid, Rüdiger Birkner, Marco Canini, Nick Feamster, Jennifer Rexford, Laurent Vanbever

Usenix NSDI 2016. Santa Clara, CA, USA (March 2016).

FLANC: A Formal Logic for Authorizing Network Control.

Arpit Gupta, Nick Feamster, Laurent Vanbever

ACM SOSR 2016. Santa Clara, CA, USA (March 2016).

Central Control Over Distributed Routing.

Stefano Vissicchio, Olivier Tilmans, Laurent Vanbever, Jennifer Rexford

ACM SIGCOMM 2015. London, UK (August 2015).

Media coverage: ipSpace

Sweet Little Lies: Fake Topologies for Flexible Routing.

Stefano Vissicchio, Laurent Vanbever, Jennifer Rexford

ACM HotNets 2014. Los Angeles, CA, USA (October 2014).

SDX: A Software Defined Internet Exchange.

Arpit Gupta, Laurent Vanbever, Muhammad Shahbaz, Sean Donovan, Brandon Schlinker, Nick Feamster, Jennifer Rexford, Scott Shenker, Russ Clark, Ethan Katz-Bassett

ACM SIGCOMM 2014. Chicago, IL, USA (August 2014).