An End-to-End Approach to Globally Scalable Programmable Networking

Micah Beck, Terry Moore and James S. Plank.

FDNA-03: Workshop on Future Directions in Network Architecture, in conjunction with ACM SIGCOMM 2003, Karlsruhe, Germany, August, 2003.

Available via anonymous ftp to in pub/plank/papers/FDNA-03.pdf.


The three fundamental resources underlying Information Technology are bandwidth, storage, and computation. The goal of wide area infrastructure is to provision these resources to enable applications within a community. The end-to-end principles provide a scalable approach to the architecture of the shared services on which these applications depend. As a prime example, IP and the Internet resulted from the application of these principles to bandwidth resources. A similar application to storage resources produced the Internet Backplane Protocol and Logistical Networking, which implements a scalable approach to wide area network storage. In this paper, we discuss the use of this paradigm for the design of a scalable service for wide area computation, or programmable networking. While it has usually been assumed that providing computational services in the network will violate the end-to-end principles, we show that this assumption does not hold. We illustrate the point by describing Logistical Network Computing, an extension to Logistical Networking that supports limited computation at intermediate nodes.

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