The Network Oracle

TitleThe Network Oracle
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsHellerstein, J. M., Paxson V., Peterson L., Roscoe T., Shenker S., & Wetherall D.
Published inBulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Data Engineering
Other Numbers1598

This paper sets out a high-level research agenda aimed at building a collaborative, global end-system monitoringand information infrastructure for the Internet’s core state. We argue that such a system is beneficial, feasibleand timely, representing an important area for engagement across database and networking technologies. Westart by hypothesizing the benefits to the Internet of a “Network Oracle” that could answer real-time questionsabout the global state of the network. We then argue that database and networking technology should make itpossible to provide a useful approximation of such an oracle today, gathering information from a large number ofend hosts and delivering useful views to each end system. We further argue that this can and should be done in adecentralized fashion. We provide an outline of such a system: it employs sensing agents, along with a distributedquery/trigger/dissemination engine, and possible attractive end-user applications. A key point of our discussion isthe timeliness and importance of a grassroots agenda for Internet monitoring and state-sharing. While significantsocial and economic barriers to deploying a centralized, public Internet monitoring infrastructure exist, there arecorresponding social and economic incentives for a collaborative approach.


This work was partially supported by funding provided to ICSI through National Science Foundation grant CNS: 0205519 ("Addressing Fundamental Issues for Robust Internet Performance"). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors or originators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Bibliographic Notes

Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Data Engineering, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp.3-10

Abbreviated Authors

J. Hellerstein, V. Paxson, L. Peterson, T. Roscoe, S. Shenker, and D. Wetherall

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in journal or magazine