Load shedding in network monitoring applications
ColaboratorSolé Pareta, Josep; Iannaccone, Gianluca; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Arquitectura de Computadors
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
Monitoring and mining real-time network data streams are crucial operations for managing and operating data networks. The information that network operators desire to extract from the network traffic is of different size, granularity and accuracy depending on the measurement task (e.g., relevant data for capacity planning and intrusion detection are very different). To satisfy these different demands, a new class of monitoring systems is emerging to handle multiple and arbitrary monitoring applications. Such systems must inevitably cope with the effects of continuous overload situations due to the large volumes, high data rates and bursty nature of the network traffic. These overload situations can severely compromise the accuracy and effectiveness of monitoring systems, when their results are most valuable to network operators. In this thesis, we propose a technique called load shedding as an effective and low-cost alternative to over-provisioning in network monitoring systems. It allows these systems to handle efficiently overload situations in the presence of multiple, arbitrary and competing monitoring applications. We present the design and evaluation of a predictive load shedding scheme that can shed excess load in front of extreme traffic conditions and maintain the accuracy of the monitoring applications within bounds defined by end users, while assuring a fair allocation of computing resources to non-cooperative applications. The main novelty of our scheme is that it considers monitoring applications as black boxes, with arbitrary (and highly variable) input traffic and processing cost. Without any explicit knowledge of the application internals, the proposed scheme extracts a set of features from the traffic streams to build an on-line prediction model of the resource requirements of each monitoring application, which is used to anticipate overload situations and control the overall resource usage by sampling the input packet streams. This way, the monitoring system preserves a high degree of flexibility, increasing the range of applications and network scenarios where it can be used. Since not all monitoring applications are robust against sampling, we then extend our load shedding scheme to support custom load shedding methods defined by end users, in order to provide a generic solution for arbitrary monitoring applications. Our scheme allows the monitoring system to safely delegate the task of shedding excess load to the applications and still guarantee fairness of service with non-cooperative users. We implemented our load shedding scheme in an existing network monitoring system and deployed it in a research ISP network. We present experimental evidence of the performance and robustness of our system with several concurrent monitoring applications during long-lived executions and using real-world traffic traces.
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