Technical Report Number
The continuing ossification of the Internet is slowing the pace of network innovation. Network diversification presents one solution to this problem, by virtualizing the network at multiple layers. Diversified networks consist of a shared physical substrate, virtual routers (metarouters), and virtual links (metalinks). Virtualizing routers enables smooth and incremental upgrades to new network services. Our current priority for a diversified router prototype is to enable reserved slices of the network for researchers to perform repeatable, high-speed network experiments. General-purpose processors have well established techniques for virtualization, but do not scale efficiently to multi-gigabit speeds. To achieve these speeds, we employ network processors (NPs), typically consisting of multicore, multi-threaded processors with asymmetric, heterogeneous memories. The complexity and lack of hardware thread isolation in NP’s, combined with a lack of simple programming models, creates numerous challenges for effective sharing between metarouters. In this paper, we detail strategies for enabling NP virtualization at the link, memory, and processor levels, to better enable a research infrastructure for network innovation.
Heller, Brandon; Turner, Jonathan; DeHart, John; and Crowley, Patrick, "Virtualization for a Network Processor Runtime System" Report Number: WUCSE-2006-62 (2006). All Computer Science and Engineering Research.