Decentralized and diverse, the Internet is resilient and universal. However, its distributed nature leads to operational brittleness and difficulty in identifying and tracking the root causes of performance and availability issues. The first step to improve this fragmentation is measurement: illuminating the currently obscure dynamics of the Internet. To address this, we advocate a measurement plane, or mPlane alongside the Internet’s data and control planes.
mPlane consists of a Distributed Measurement Infrastructure to perform active, passive and hybrid measurements; it operates at a wide variety of scales and dynamically supports new functionality. A Repository and Analysis layer collects, stores, and analyses the collected data via parallel processing and data mining. Finally, an Intelligent Reasoner iteratively drills down into the cause of an evidence, determining the conditions leading to given issues, and supporting the understanding of problem origins.
The design of mPlane architecture will be detailed first. A set of representative use cases will seed the architecture specification and requirements. The same use cases will be used to validate the mPlane approach and to demonstrate its achievements later on. Together with the technical architecture, mPlane will define proper ownership and administration model for the various components. The mPlane will consist of three main components.
- the Measurement Layer, which combines a set of new (software and hardware) programmable mPlane probes with legacy probes adapted to the mPlane measurement layer interface into a common, large-scale, distributed measurement layer, which is concurrently accessible to a wide set of stakeholders (ISPs, Application Providers, Regulators, Researchers, etc.).
- the Repository and Analysis Layer, which provides an efficient framework to store and process the large volumes of data collected by the measurement layer. Data will be collected from each probe in a standard and way, and pre-processing of the large amount of data will be possible in an efficient way.
- the mPlane Supervisor, which controls the actions and synthesizes the results of the far-flung probes and repositories, and iterates on these results to drill down to the root cause of a specific issue and/or investigate the relationship underlying a general phenomenon. This iterative analysis, supported and automated by an intelligent reasoner, is sorely missing in present measurement systems, and is one key element of the measurement plane.
Experimental validation and actual demonstration will allow to quantitatively assessing the mPlane benefit.
By enabling pervasive measurement throughout the Internet, mPlane benefits everyone:
- Internet Service Providers get a fine-grained picture of the network status, empowering effective management and operation
- Application providers gain powerful tools for handling performance issues of their application
- Regulators and end-users can verify adherence to SLAs, even when these involve many parties
- Customers of all kinds can objectively compare network performance, improving competition in the market.
mPlane will significantly advance the state of the art in Internet measurement, from innovative probe technology to intelligent algorithms for distributed data analysis. The development of the Reasoner is a key result that will allow structured, iterative, automated analysis. An emphasis on open, standard interfaces will speed adoption and increase the impact of the project.