Improving network resilience with Middlebox Minions

Hill, Lyn and Rotsos, Charalampos and Fantom, Will and Edwards, Christopher and Hutchison, David (2022) Improving network resilience with Middlebox Minions. In: IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium. IEEE. (In Press)

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Resilience in networks has often relied on high availability to ensure minimal disruption to end users when faults occur, but this has grown difficult for retaining state with the growing popularity of hardware middleboxes -- blackbox hardware network functions that have served as an important part of network design in recent years. There is potential room for the introduction of Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) in the field of resilience in connection with middlebox usage. Rather than relying on overprovisioning, we propose Middlebox Minion (MiMi) VNF, a system design that can be inserted around inaccessible hardware. This recreates state in accordance with the middlebox function, using NFV to establish stateful failover mechanisms without the need to replace existing hardware. The experiment we present is a failover analogy examining the importance of state retention and the complexities involved with inaccessible hardware. Results suggest a promising improvement of connection quality and up to 60% lower loss when state can be preserved across failover instances, as well as potential for further exploration of the topic area.

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28 Jan 2022 13:35
In Press
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 17:41