Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Computer Science and Engineering


English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Jonathan Turner


Virtualized network infrastructures are currently deployed in both research and commercial contexts. The complexity of the virtualization layer varies greatly in different deployments, ranging from cloud computing environments, to carrier Ethernet applications using stacked VLANs, to networking testbeds. In all of these cases, many users are sharing the resources of one provider and each user expects their resources to be isolated from all other users. There are many challenges associated with the control and management of these systems, including resource allocation and sharing, resource isolation, system security, and usability. Among the different types of virtualized infrastructures, network testbeds are of particular interest due to their widespread use in education and in the networking research community. Networking researchers rely extensively on testbeds when evaluating new protocols and ideas. Indeed, a substantial percentage of top research papers include results gathered from testbeds. Network emulation testbeds in particular are often used to conduct innovative research because they allow users to emulate diverse network topologies in a controlled environment. That is, researchers run experiments with a collection of resources that can be reconfigured to represent many different network scenarios. The user typically has control over most of the resources in their experiment which results in a high level of reproducibility. As such, these types of testbeds provide an excellent bridge between simulation and deployment of new ideas. Unfortunately, most testbeds suffer from a general lack of resource extensibility and diversity. This dissertation extends the current state of the art by designing a new, more general testbed infrastructure that expands and enhances the capabilities of modern testbeds. This includes pertinent abstractions, software design, and related algorithms. The design has also been prototyped in the form of the Open Network Laboratory network testbed, which has been successfully used in educational and research pursuits. While the focus is on network testbeds, the results of this research will also be applicable to the broader class of virtualized system infrastructures.


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