Snowcap: Synthesizing Network-Wide Configuration Updates

Abstract

Large-scale reconfiguration campaigns tend to be nerve-racking for network operators as they can lead to significant network downtimes, decreased performance, and policy violations. Unfortunately, existing reconfiguration frameworks often fall short in practice as they either only support a small set of reconfiguration scenarios or simply do not scale.

We address these problems with Snowcap, the first network reconfiguration framework which can synthesize configuration updates that comply with arbitrary hard and soft specifications, and involve arbitrary routing protocols. Our key contribution is an efficient search procedure which leverages counter-examples to efficiently navigate the space of configuration updates. Given a reconfiguration ordering which violates the desired specifications, our algorithm automatically identifies the problematic commands so that it can avoid this particular order in the next iteration.

We fully implemented Snowcap and extensively evaluated its scalability and effectiveness on real-world topologies and typical, large-scale reconfiguration scenarios. Even for large topologies, Snowcap finds a valid reconfiguration ordering with minimal side-effects (i.e., traffic shifts) within a few seconds at most.

Publication
In ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communications 2021
Tibor Schneider
Tibor Schneider
PhD Student

My research interests include verification and synthesis of network configuration.