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Operations and Management of IP Networks: What Researchers Should Know

Date and Time
Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Computer Science Small Auditorium (Room 105)
Aman Shaikh and Albert Greenberg, from AT&T Research
Jennifer Rexford
This tutorial will shed light on the art and the science of managing big IP networks, such as tier 1 ISPs. It consists of four parts: (i) architecture of a typical tier-1 service provider network, and operational challenges associated with running such networks; (ii) detailed description of various management and operational tasks; (iii) a case study of supporting an emerging application, VoIP; and (iv) research directions.

We describe the architecture of typical tier-1 service provider networks, in terms of scale and diversity of equipment, protocols and services, and show how these factors make management and operations of these networks a challenging task. We then discuss the key tasks of network operations: customer provisioning and care, network care, traffic engineering, network architecture and design, and security. We describe each task in detail, and how research and innovation in systems and tools fit in. We then consider the challenges of introducing new applications with VoIP as an example. Finally, we discuss challenges and areas where further research and innovation are needed, including automation of operational tasks, managing the network as a whole rather than on a box by box basis, gauging the impact of network activities on customer performance, and scheduling of maintenance activities in a seamless fashion.


Aman Shaikh is a Technical Specialist at AT&T Labs (Research). He has published several papers on routing and network management. He has been responsible for design, development and implementation of an OSPF monitor which is deployed in enterprise and service provider networks. He is also actively involed in various activities related to innovation and realization of route monitoring and network management. Recently he spent a month at AT&T Network Operations Center (NOC) talking to several people who work "on the floor" day in day out, and watching the network operations from close quarters. This sort of interaction with Operations with a Research hat on will come through in many of the examples presented at the tutorial.

Albert Greenberg heads the Network Measurement and Engineering Dept. at AT&T Labs-Research, a group which conducts research in networking, with an emphasis on large scale IP networks and systems, and emerging Internet technologies. His research interests include Internet traffic measurement, modeling and engineering, network management, and optical networking. In collaboration with several others at AT&T Labs, he is developing a unified toolkit to manage IP networks. In recent years, he has also worked with Aman Shaikh and others at AT&T on the monitoring and management of large IP routing infrastructures. Albert has had his hands in AT&T's operational IP networks since their birth, with a focus on research on analysis, algorithms, and tools for operational network management.

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