Language-Directed Hardware Design for Network Performance Monitoring

Srinivas Narayana, Anirudh Sivaraman, Vikram Nathan, Prateesh Goyal, Venkat Arun, Mohammad Alizadeh, Vimalkumar Jeyakumar, Changhoon Kim
SIGCOMM 2017, Los Angeles, CA, August 2017

Network performance monitoring today is restricted by existing switch support for measurement, forcing operators to rely heavily on endpoints with poor visibility into the network core. Switch vendors have added progressively more monitoring features to switches, but the current trajectory of adding specific features is unsustainable given the ever-changing demands of network operators. Instead, we ask what switch hardware primitives are required to support an expressive language of network performance questions. We believe that the resulting switch hardware design could address a wide variety of current and future performance monitoring needs.

We present a performance query language, Marple, modeled on familiar functional constructs like map, filter, groupby, and zip. Marple is backed by a new programmable key-value store primitive on switch hardware. The key-value store performs flexible aggregations at line rate (e.g., a moving average of queueing latencies per flow), and scales to millions of keys. We present a Marple compiler that targets a P4-programmable software switch and a simulator for high-speed programmable switches. Marple can express switch queries that could previously run only on end hosts, while Marple queries only occupy a modest fraction of a switch’s hardware resources.

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Bibtex Entry:

   author =       " Srinivas Narayana and Anirudh Sivaraman and Vikram Nathan and Prateesh Goyal and Venkat Arun and Mohammad Alizadeh and Vimalkumar Jeyakumar and Changhoon Kim",
   title =        "{Language-Directed Hardware Design for Network Performance Monitoring}",
   booktitle =    {SIGCOMM 2017},
   year =         {2017},
   month =        {August},
   address =      {Los Angeles, CA}