Software Defined Networking: The Data Centre Perspective


Software Defined Networking (SDN) has become a well-established networking paradigm. Flagship deployments include in-hause developed solutions by Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Understanding of SDN and its application for more flexible network control has become a necessity for future networking specialists. 

In this seminar we will get familiar with the basic concepts of SDN and look into details of how traffic engineering is carreid out. Traffice engineering (TE) is an important aspect of data centre management. TE includes a set of algorithms and strategies to handle traffic according to predefined objectives such as balancing link occupation, limiting the sending rate of hosts, etc. Through TE network operators can maximise the use of the network resource. 


Each participant is asked to select a paper and prepare a 10 min presentation highlighting the contributions of the paper. For the same paper a technical report is expected. Guideline on how to write the report you can downdload from here

The students taking the seminar benefit from building a set of general skills including:  

  • critical analysis through reviewing high-quality papers and pointing out advantages, weaknesses and potential improvements;
  • presentation skills through giving a presentation;
  • rethoric skills through class discussions and presentation;
  • collaborative skills through working as a team and preparing group reports. 


Date Topic Paper


Introduction Slides 


Switch-based monitoring: mirroring

Packet-Level Telemetry in Large Datacenter Networks
(sigcomm’15) (video)

Millions of Little Minions: Using Packets for Low Latency Network Programming and Visibility
(sigcomm’14) (slides
David Eschbach


Switch-based monitoring: sketches

SketchVisor: Robust Network Measurement for Software Packet Processing
(sigcomm’17) (video) (slides)
James Dermelj


Endpoint-based monitoring


Trumpet: Timely and Precise Triggers in Data Centers
(sigcomm'16) (video) (slides)
Alexander Hedges

Simplifying Datacenter Network Debugging with PathDump
(osdi’16) (video) (slides)
Luca Campanella


Querying measurements

Quantitative Network Monitoring with NetQRE (sigcomm'17) (video) (slides)
Dimitri Wessels


no lecture  


no lecture   


Heavy hitter

Heavy-Hitter Detection Entirely in the Data Plane
(sosr’17) (slides
Benjamin Rothenberger 

Let it Flow: Resilient Asymmetric Load Balancing with Flowlet Switching
(nsdi’17) (video) (slides
Fabian Rohr


Load balancing

DRILL: Micro Load Balancing for Low-latency Data Center Networks
(hotnets'15) (sigcomm’17) (video) (slides)
Alexander Canals

Stateless Datacenter Load-balancing with Beamer
(nsdi’18) (slides nsdi) (slides)
Pascal Wiesmann 


Congestion control
Costin Raiciu,  UP Bucuresti (Discussion with author)
Re-architecting datacenter networks and stacks for low latency and high performance
(sigcomm’17) (video)


Traffic shaping

 Carousel: Scalable Traffic Shaping at End Hosts (sigcomm’17) (video) (slides sigcomm) (slides)
Christelle Gloor

Semi-Oblivious Traffic Engineering: The Road Not Taken (nsdi'18) (slides nsdi) (slides)
Nora Hossle


no lecture  


Correct behaviour

Credit-Scheduled Delay-Bounded Congestion Control for Datacenters (sigcomm’17) (video) (slides sigcomm) (slides
Leonid Bloch

Abstractions for Network Update (sigcomm'12) 
Lukas Humbel


Bandwidth guarantees

Application-driven bandwidth guarantees in datacenters (sigcomm'14) (slides)
Jack Clark

BwE: Flexible, Hierarchical Bandwidth Allocation for WAN Distributed Computing (sigcomm’15) (video) (slides)
Ritu Sriram


Pricing strategies
Ahmed El-Hassany, ETH (Invited talk)
BigBug: Practical Concurrency Analysis for SDN (sosr'17)



There is no formal examination at the end of the seminar. The final grade is formed by report (40%), presentation (20%), participation (30%), and group work (10%). 

Report submission dates (by midnight):

  • David, James, Alexander (H.), Luca and Dimitri: April 9
  • Benjamin, Fabian, Alexander (C.), Pascal: May 7
  • Leonid, Christelle, Nora: May 21
  • Lukas, Ritu: June 10


Group 1: Alexander (C.), Luca, David, Jack
Group 2: Alexander (H.), Ritu, Dimitri
Group 3: Benjamin, Fabian, Christelle, Leonid
Group 4: Lukas, Pascal, James, Nora