The Case for Resilient Overlay Networks

David G. Andersen, Hari Balakrishnan, M. Frans Kaashoek, Robert Morris.
Proc. of the 8th Annual Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS-VIII), May 2001

In this paper, we motivate and describe the architecture of Resilient Overlay Networks (RON), an application-level packet forwarding service that gives end-hosts and applications the ability to take advantage of network paths that traditional Internet routing \emph{cannot} make use of, thereby improving their end-to-end reliability and performance. A RON system consists of a per-host forwarding and routing system; programs to measure the quality of paths between participating hosts; and mechanisms for interpreting this measured data and making routing decisions based upon that interpretation. RONs are usable as a purely user-level library system, with kernel support for packet encapsulation, or as a router to overlay entire leaf networks. We explain the reasons for the architectural design of RON, and argue that end-host controlled Resilient Overlay Networks provide a good framework for distributed applications to transmit data with greater robustness and higher performance over the wide-area Internet.

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