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Diversifying the Internet

Yong Liao, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Diversity is a widely existing and much desired property in many networking systems. This dissertation studies diversity problems in Internet, which is the largest computer networking system in the world. The motivations of diversifying the Internet are two-fold. First, diversifying the Internet improves the Internet routing robustness and reliability. Most problems we have encountered in our daily use of Internet, such as service interruptions and service quality degradation, are rooted in the inter-domain routing system of Internet. Inter-domain routing is policy-based routing, where policies are often based on commercial agreements between ASes. Although people know how to safely accommodate a few commercial agreements in inter-domain routing, for a large set of diverse commercial agreements, it is not clear yet what policy guidelines can accommodate them and guarantee convergence. Accommodating diverse commercial agreements not only is needed for ASes in Internet to achieve their business goals, it also provides more path diversity in inter-domain routing, which potentially benefits the inter-domain routing system. However, more reliable and robust routing cannot be achieve unless the routing system exploits the path diversity well. However, that is not the case for the current inter-domain routing system. There exist many paths in the underlying network, but the routing system cannot find those paths promptly. Although many schemes have been proposed to address the routing reliability problem, they often add significant more complexity into the system. The need for a more reliable inter-domain routing system without adding too much complexity calls for designing practical schemes to better exploit Internet path diversity and provide more reliable routing service. The increasing demands of providing value-added services in Internet also motivates the research work in this dissertation. Recently, network virtualization substrates and data centers are becoming important infrastructures. Network virtualization provides the ability to run multiple concurrent virtual networks in the same shared substrate. To better facilitate building application-specific networks so as to test and deploy network innovations for future Internet, a network virtualization platform must provide both high-degree of flexibility and high-speed packet forwarding in virtual networks. However, flexibility and forwarding performance are often tightly coupled issues in system design. Usually we have to sacrifice one in order to improve the other one. The lack of a platform that has both flexibility and good forwarding performance motivates the research in this dissertation to design network virtualization platforms to better support virtual networks with diverse functionalities in future Internet. The popularity of data centers in Internet also motivates this dissertation to studying scalable and cost-efficient data center networks. Data centers with a cluster of servers are already common places in Internet to host large scale networking applications, which require huge amount of computation and storage resources. To keep up with the performance requirements of those applications, a data center has to accommodate a large number of servers. As Internet evolves and more diverse applications emerge, the computation and storage requirements for data centers grow quickly. However, using the conventional interconnection structure is hard to scale the number of servers in data centers. Hence, it is of importance to design new interconnection structures for future data centers in Internet. Four interesting topics are explored in this dissertation: (i) accommodating diverse commercial agreements in inter-domain routing, (ii) exploiting the Internet AS-level path diversity, (iii) supporting diverse network data planes, and (iv) diverse interconnection networks for data centers. The first part of this dissertation explores accommodating diverse commercial agreements in inter-domain routing while guaranteeing global routing convergence, so as to provide more path diversity in Internet. The second part of this dissertation studies exploiting the path diversity in Internet by running multiple routing processes in parallel, which compute multiple paths and those paths can complement each other in case one path has problems when dynamics present in the routing system. The third part of this dissertation studies supporting concurrent networks with heterogeneous data plane functions via network virtualization. Two virtual network platforms are presented, which achieve both high-speed packet forwarding in each virtual network and high degree of flexibility for each virtual network to customize its data plane functions. The last part of this dissertation presents a new scalable interconnection structure for data center networks. The salient feature of this new interconnection structure is that it expands to any number of servers without requiring to physically upgrading the existing servers.

Subject Area

Computer Engineering

Recommended Citation

Liao, Yong, "Diversifying the Internet" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3409621.