An outright open source approach for simple and pragmatic Internet eXchange


The Internet is indispensable for our life today and for our globalized financial economy. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability and trust. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource. Physical location Internet eXchange Points (IXP) are highly valuable for the Internet as neutral exchange places where all type and size of networks can exchange traffic. The fundamental service offered by IXP is a shared layer2 switching fabric. IXPs are fastened by using close source technology for their switching fabric. Although this should be a basic functionality, today solutions never address their basic requirements properly. Today’s network solutions are inflexible as proprietary closed implementation of a distributed control plane tight together with the data plane. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging paradigm decoupling the control and data planes, on opening high performance forwarding plane with OpenFlow. The goal of this thesis is to propose an IXP pragmatic Openflow switching fabric, addressing the critical requirements and affording greater simplicity and flexibility. Few SDN solutions have been presented already but all of them propose fuzzy layer 2 and 3 separation. For a enhanced stability not all control planes functions can be decoupled from the data plane. As an other goal statement, networking testing tools are essential for qualifying networking equipment. Network hardware monitoring and testing being critical for computer networks, current solutions are both very expensive, inflexible and not open source. The experience in deploying Openflow in production networks has highlight significant limitations in the support of the protocol by hardware switches. Open source hardware solutions give total flexibility and reproducibility for testing and selecting suitable hardware equipment to go to production. We present Umbrella, a new SDN-enabled IXP fabric architecture, that aims to promote strengthening the separation of control and data plane to increase robustness, flexibility and reliability of the IXP. Umbrella abolishes broadcasting with a pseudo wire and segment routing approach. We demonstrated for an IXP fabric that not all the control plane can be decoupled from the date plane. We show that Umbrella can scale and recycle legacy non OpenFlow core switch to reduce migration cost. Into the testing tools lacuna we launch the Open Source Network Tester (OSNT), a fully open-source traffic generator and capture system. Additionally, our approach has proved less costly than comparable commercial systems while achieving comparable levels of precision and accuracy; all within an open-source framework extensible with new features to support new applications, while permitting validation and review of the implementation. Furthermore we present the integration of OpenFLow Operations Per Second (OFLOPS), an OpenFlow switch evaluation platform, with the OSNT platform, a hardware-accelerated traffic generation and capturing platform. We demonstrate the real flexibility and benefit of the Umbrella architecture persuading ten Internet operators to migrate the entire Toulouse IXP. The hardware testing tools we have developed have been used to qualify the hardware which has been deployed in production. The TouIX has been running stable for a year. It is fully managed and monitored through a single web application removing all the complex legacy management systems.

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