Lithium: Event-Driven Network Control

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Kim, Hyojoon
Voellmy, Andreas
Burnett, Sam
Feamster, Nick
Clark, Russ
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This paper introduces event-driven network control, a network control framework that makes networks easier to manage by automating many tasks that must currently be performed by manually modifying low-level, distributed, and complex device configuration. We identify four policy domains that inherently capture many events: time, user, history, and traffic flow. We then present Lithium, an event-driven network control framework that can implement policies expressed using these domains. Lithium can support policies that automatically react to a wide range of events, from fluctuations in traffic volumes to changes in the time of day. Lithium allows network operators to specify networkwide policies in terms of a high-level, event-driven policy model, as opposed to configuring individual network devices with low-level commands. To show that Lithium is practical, general, and applicable in different types of network scenarios, we have deployed Lithium in both a campus network and a home network and used it to implement more flexible and dynamic network policies. We also perform evaluations to show that Lithium introduces negligible overhead beyond a conventional OpenFlow-based control framework.
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