Measurements as First-class Artifacts

Abstract

The emergence of programmable switches has sparked a significant amount of work on new techniques to perform more powerful measurement tasks, for instance, to obtain fine-grained traffic and performance statistics. Previous work has focused on the efficiency of these measurements alone and has neglected flexibility, resulting in solutions that are hard to reuse or repurpose and that often overlap in functionality or goals.
In this paper, we propose the use of a set of reusable primitive building blocks that can be composed to express measurement tasks in a concise and simple way. We describe the rationale for the design of our primitives, that we have named MAFIA (Measurements As FIrst-class Artifacts), and using several examples we illustrate how they can be combined to realize a comprehensive range of network measurement tasks. Writing MAFIA code does not require expert knowledge of low-level switch architecture details. Using a prototype implementation of MAFIA, we demonstrate the applicability of our approach and show that the use of our primitives results in compiled code that is comparable in size and resource usage with manually written specialized P4 code, and can be run in current hardware.

Publication
Proceedings of INFOCOM’19