Modern data centers can consist of hundreds of thousands of servers and millions of virtualized end hosts. A key challenge in providing scalable communication in the data center is assigning identifiers, or labels, to network elements and servers so that they can efficiently communicate and perform cooperative tasks. The scale and complexity of a data center makes the labeling problem unique in this environment and solutions often resort to manual configuration that is costly, time-consuming, and error prone. In this talk, I will present ALIAS, a distributed protocol for topology discovery and label assignment in data center networks. ALIAS automates the assignment of topologically meaningful addresses to the nodes in a data center, enabling scalable communication while significantly reducing the management burden of manual configuration at scale.
Meg is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, working with Amin Vahdat and Keith Marzullo. Her research interests are rooted in distributed systems and algorithms. She has recently applied this investigation to the data center, enabling scalable communication via strategic label assignment and exploring the relationship between fault tolerance and key properties of hierarchical topologies. Meg received a B.S. and an M.Eng in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University and will complete her PhD in Computer Science in the Summer of 2012.