Rethinking Enterprise Network Control

TitleRethinking Enterprise Network Control
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsCasado, M., Freedman M. J., Pettit J., Luo J.., Gude N. S., McKeown N., & Shenker S. J.
Published inIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Other Numbers2823

This paper presents Ethane, a new network architecture for the enterprise. Ethane allows managers to define a single network-wide fine-grain policy and then enforces it directly. Ethane couples extremely simple flow-based Ethernet switches with a centralized controller that manages the admittance and routing of flows. While radical, this design is backwards-compatible with existing hosts and switches. We have implemented Ethane in both hardware and software, supporting both wired and wireless hosts. We also show that it is compatible with existing high-fanout switches by porting it to popular commodity switching chipsets. We have deployed and managed two operational Ethane networks, one in the Stanford University Computer Science Department supporting over 300 hosts, and another within a small business of 30 hosts. Our deployment experiences have significantly affected Ethane's design.


This work was partially supported by funding provided to ICSI through National Science Foundation grants CNS: 0225660 ("Robust Large-Scale Distributed Systems") and 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

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 1270-1283

Abbreviated Authors

M. Casado, M. J. Freedman, J. Pettit, J. Luo, N. Gude, N. McKeown, and S. Shenker

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in journal or magazine