From Overlays to Clouds: Inventing a New Network Paradigm

Yair Amir, Johns Hopkins Univeristy

The Internet presents compelling reach, cost and capacity properties that drive more and more forms of communication to use it as their network of choice. These properties stem from a few core design principles underlying the Internet, such as best effort packet switching and routing, and end-to-end reliability, congestion control and addressing: in essence, keep it simple in the middle and smart at the edge.

New applications bring new demands that clash with the core principles: high performance reliability for large file transfers; low latency interactivity for VoIP calls; point-to-multipoint reliable transport and delivery for live TV; “perfect” reliability and timeliness for remote surgery and remote manipulation; and intrusion resiliency required by clouds, SCADA, and other critical infrastructure systems.

This talk surveys a decade-long journey developing the “right” network paradigm to address the new demands. We present the overlay architecture and associated protocols that were invented along the way, moving more of the intelligence to the middle of the network. The architecture is implemented by a flexible, software-based overlay router that is augmented with protocols tailored to new demands, while using the Internet as is. We discuss a reliable protocol that dramatically reduces average latency, a second protocol tailored to VoIP, and a third protocol tailored to live TV.

A new cloud networking service actualizes this network paradigm at scale. Having been deployed globally over the last two years, this service is already changing the world of live TV transport and delivery.

Speaker Biography

Yair Amir, who joined the Johns Hopkins Computer Science faculty in 1995, seeks to invent high performance, survivable and secure distributed systems that make a difference. He holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.