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Our upcoming WRIPE paper, “Automating the Testing of OpenFlow Applications”

Our paper on Automating the Testing of OpenFlow Applications has been accepted at WRIPE 2011 (joint work with Jennifer Rexford from Princeton University). Marco will present the work in October.

Software-defined networking, and the emergence of OpenFlow-capable switches, enables a wide range of new network functionality. However, enhanced programmability inevitably leads to more software faults (or bugs). We believe that tools for testing OpenFlow programs are critical to the success of the new technology. However, the way OpenFlow applications interact with the data plane raises several challenges.

First, the space of possible inputs (e.g., packet headers and inter-packet timings) is huge. Second, the centralized controller has a indirect view of the traffic and experiences unavoidable delays in installing rules in the switches. Third, external factors like user behavior (e.g., mobility) and higher-layer protocols (e.g., the TCP state machine) affect the correctness of OpenFlow programs.

In this work-in-progress paper, we extend techniques for symbolic execution to generate inputs that systematically explore the space of system executions. Initial experiences with our prototype, which symbolically executes NOX applications written in Python, suggest that our techniques can help programmers identify bugs in their OpenFlow programs.

Our upcoming USENIX paper: Toward Online Testing of Federated and Heterogeneous Distributed Systems

Our paper titled “Toward Online Testing of Federated and Heterogeneous Distributed Systems” will appear at the 2011 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC ’11).

In this paper, we argue that distributed system reliability should be improved by proactively identifying potential faults using an online testing functionality. We propose an approach called DiCE that continuously and automatically explores the system behavior, to check whether the system deviates from its desired behavior. This paper outlines our vision and the problem we want to tackle. Then, it focuses on describing our experience in integrating DiCE with an open-source BGP router. We evaluate DiCE’s ability to quickly detect origin misconfiguration (popularly known as ‘prefix hijacking’), a recurring operator mistake that causes Internet-wide outages. The most (in)famous instance is perhaps the one of YouTube hijacking.

Presentation of DiCE at RIPE62

I presented DiCE in the Routing Working Group session at the RIPE62 meeting in Amsterdam. A RIPE meeting is a large event that gathers ISPs & network operators. So it was a great opportunity to plant the seed.

Here is the recorded video of my presentation.

They suggested to get in touch with the global routing operations Working Group at the IETF and we will look into that.