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Hardware-Software Co-Design for Network Performance Measurement

Srinivas Narayana, Anirudh Sivaraman, Vikram Nathan, Mohammad Alizadeh, David Walker, Jennifer Rexford, Vimalkumar Jeyakumar, Changhoon Kim
HotNets 2016, Atlanta, GA, November 2016

Diagnosing performance problems in networks is important, for example to determine where packets experience high latency. However, existing diagnostic tools are constrained by limited switch mechanisms for measurement. As a result, operators use endpoint information to indirectly infer root causes for performance issues.

Instead of designing piecemeal solutions to work around limited switch mechanisms, we believe that the right approach is to co-design language abstractions and switch hardware primitives for performance measurement. This approach provides confidence that the switch primitives are useful for a variety of existing and unanticipated use cases.

We present a declarative query language that allows operators to ask a diverse set of network performance questions. We show that these queries can be implemented efficiently in switch hardware using a programmable key-value store primitive. Our preliminary evaluations show that our hardware design incurs modest additional chip area relative to existing switching chips, suggesting that it is a practical solution for network performance measurement.

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Bibtex Entry:

   author =       " Srinivas Narayana and Anirudh Sivaraman and Vikram Nathan and Mohammad Alizadeh and David Walker and Jennifer Rexford and Vimalkumar Jeyakumar and Changhoon Kim",
   title =        "{Hardware-Software Co-Design for Network Performance Measurement}",
   booktitle =    {HotNets 2016},
   year =         {2016},
   month =        {November},
   address =      {Atlanta, GA}