The Measurement Manifesto

George Varghese and Cristian Estan
June 4, 2003

Useful measurement data is badly needed to help onitor and control large networks. Current approaches to solving measurement problems often assume minimal support from routers and protocols (e.g., tomography) or place the entire burden on the router to support heavyweight mechanisms (e.g. NetFlow, per-prefix counters). The thesis of this paper is that systems approaches to such problems can yield more efficient intermediate solutions by considering the ultimate use of the data, understanding implementation costs, and by distributing aspects of the solution among routers, protocols, and tools. We briefly show how these principles are indirectly applied in existing proposals for new measurement primitives. We then show how these principles can be used to derive new systems solutions to two separate problems: measuring route stability (by modifying route computation) and measuring traffic matrices (by implementing per-class counters that can yield traffic matrices with much smaller memory requirements than per-prefix counters). Beyond specifictechniques, we hope the principles in this position paper can provide a focus for discussion among researchers, router vendors, protocol designers, and network operators (the stakeholders in the measurement enterprise) to yield effective solutions to measurement problems.

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