Scalable computer network emulation using node virtualization and resource monitoring [article]

Steffen Dirk Maier, Universität Stuttgart, Universität Stuttgart
Ongoing development of computer network technology requires new communication protocols on all layers of the protocol stack to adapt to and to exploit technology specifics. The performance of new protocol implementations has to be evaluated before deployment. Computer network emulation enables the execution of real unmodified protocol implementations within a configurable synthetic environment. Since network properties are reproduced synthetically, emulation supports reproducible measurement
more » ... ults for wired and wireless networks. Meaningful evaluation scenarios typically involve a large number of communicating nodes. Reproducing the network properties of the medium access control layer can be accomplished efficiently on cheap common off the shelf computers and allows to evaluate network protocols, transport protocols, and applications. However, meaningful emulation scenario sizes often require more nodes than affordable computers. To scale the number of nodes in an emulation scenario beyond the available computers, we discuss approaches to virtualization and operating system partitioning. Focusing on the latter, we argue for virtual protocol stacks, which provide an extremely lightweight node virtualization enabling the execution of multiple instances of software to be evaluated on each physical computer. To connect virtual nodes on the same and on different computers, we design and implement a highly efficient software communication switch. A centralized emulation control component distributes dynamic network property updates which result from node mobility for instance. To handle the large number of nodes and thus increased updates, we propose a hierarchical control where the central component delegates updates to sub-components distributed over the computers of an emulation system. Extensive evaluations show the scalability of our virtualized network emulation system. Virtual nodes executed on the same computer share its limited resources. Hosting too many virtual nodes on the same computer may lead to resou [...]
doi:10.18419/opus-2698 fatcat:6sutyw6tmjd2pbf6o5alosnhjy