Research

Current assignment

I’m now working as a post-doc assigned to the ULTRA project, an ERC consolidated grant awarded to Dejan Kostic.

The goal of the ULTRA project, is to build internet services with ultra-low latency. We aim to make the Internet services work at the true speed of the underlying hardware, a bit of which started with Metron. The services built by ULTRA will be an enabler for emerging applications such as intelligent transportation systems, the Internet of Things and e-health.

History

I started my PhD in 2013 inside the RUN team, in the EpI project supervised by Laurent Mathy.

Our research project was all about creating fast software middleboxes, and more generally fast virtual network functions (VNFs). To handle middleboxes features like IDS, Firewall, DPI on a datacenter or near a core router, one has to use either multiple general purpose processors (like computers), or fast boxes mostly based on NPU or FPGA which are not really upgradable. Our goal is to come with a software architecture which would be able to handle very fast speed (~100Gbits/seconds) for any kind of VNFs on commodity hardware.

The first part of my work has been to find a strong basis for high speed I/O to build upon. We decided to use the Click Modular Router and extend it to do flow processing and use it as a “Click Modular Middlebox”. However, after some months we found that many things could be improved regarding the usage of underlying frameworks like DPDK and Netmap, usage of batching (both I/O and compute batching) and multi-queue, leading to a first ANCS 2015 paper. An invited paper with more considerations about latency is to appear soon. It will also contain some new findings related to my internship at Cisco Meraki, where I tried FastClick techniques on their product, leading to new problems and discoveries.

Since then, we extended FastClick to unify the classification, session mappings and stack services on behalf of the VNFs. This does not only lead to convenient services for VNFs developers, it also allows to minimize and factorize the classification, avoiding redundant operations across VMs. The stack allows for on-the-fly modification of any flow (such as HTTP or TCP flows), managing SEQs and ACKs on behalf of the user. A presentation poster has been accepted at EuroSys 2018. A subsequent invited paper has been presented at HPSR 2018. The codename of the implementation is MiddleClick.

Finally, to enable efficient usage of the infrastructure around the dataplane itself, I collaborated with people at the KTH Institute of Technology to come up with Metron. Metron is a controller that enables to offload classification inside SDN switches and use NIC’s capabilities to directly deliver packets to the right FastClick process, avoiding any inter-core switch. “Metron: NFV Service Chains at the True Speed of the Underlying Hardware” is to appear at NSDI 2018.

After my PhD graduation I joined the NSLab team at KTH, to work on Metron‘s next phase, towards a global, low-latency Internet. Stay tuned !

Publications

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