NetBump: User-extensible Active Queue Management with Bumps on the Wire

George Porter, Rishi Kapoor, Sambit Das, Mohammad Al-Fares, Hakim Weatherspoon, Balaji Prabhakar and Amin Vahdat
April 12, 2012

Engineering large-scale data center applications built from thousands of commodity nodes requires both an underlying network that supports a wide variety of traffic demands, and low latency at microsecond timescales. Many ideas for adding innovative functionality to networks, especially active queue management strategies, require either modifying packets or performing alternative queuing to packets in-flight on the data plane. However, configuring packet queuing, marking, and dropping is challenging, since buffering in commercial switches and routers is not programmable. In this work, we present NetBump, a platform for experimenting with, evaluating, and deploying a wide variety of active queue management strategies to network data planes with minimal intrusiveness and at low latency. NetBump leaves existing switches and endhosts unmodified by acting as a ``bump on the wire,'' examining, marking, and forwarding packets at line rate in tens of microseconds to implement a variety of virtual active queuing disciplines and congestion control mechanisms. We describe the design of NetBump, and use it to implement several network functions and congestion control protocols including DCTCP and 802.1Qau quantized congestion notification.

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