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More on the software-defined network StreaMonitor system

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August 8, 2016

On any given day, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is important to phone companies, wireless providers and big data centres, who use it to integrate dedicated appliances like hardware firewalls in favor of virtual machines that can be commanded and specifically tailored on demand.

But the overall monitoring of the network can be a bit of a pain since functions and the traffic associated with them can spin up and down in a manner of just a few seconds.

Therefore, there's a growing demand for better and more 'intelligent' infrastructure. A group of researchers from the University of Rome and Italy's CNIT have put together a distributed framework for the software-defined network StreaMon monitor.

Their D-StreaMon (distributed StreaMon) proposal has a particular focus on watching out for security threats, getting StreaMon out of “middleboxes” and into virtual machines per se.

The system's authors say the monitor can be virtualized with a straightforward publish/subscribe model. As with other virtualization solutions, they've separated the control plane which remains a single system from the probes which get pushed out into the infrastructure.

Separating the two also means that D-StreaMon suits industrial and Internet of Things environments, the authors assert, since the probe software is designed to run on much smaller environments than a full StreaMon implementation.

“Legacy StreaMon foresees for a single host architecture, where the single node executes all the steps of the platform life-cycle,” the paper notes.

D-StreaMon splits those into a master-slave model-- “In the Master, we move all the static steps like generation of libraries and configuration files while we fully allocate only the operative steps to the Slave nodes. The Slaves need only the libraries necessary to run the StreaMon probes in and by itself.”

The University of Rome researchers believe the overall overhead imposed by separating the processes is relatively small, and note that cloud operators could create a network monitoring-as-a-service platform for customers without having to deploy a whole slew of middlebox nodes to run it.

The newly proposed system is intended to run alongside an open vSwitch, with the probes running on either VMs or containers.

The D-StreaMon code has been tested on Debian 8.2 with GCC 4.9.2, on Arch Linux with GCC 5.2.0, and the project is available at GitHub.

Source: The University of Rome.

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