Towards Systematic Enterprise Network Management

Sanjay Rao: Assistant Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University


Sanjay Rao

Enterprise networks are important, with size and complexity even surpassing carrier networks. Yet, the design of enterprise networks is ad-hoc and poorly understood. Further, the inherently complex high-level policies that operators have for their networks are realized through thousands of low-level device configurations. Configuring networks is error-prone given the huge mismatch between operator objectives and low-level configurations. Recent surveys show that 80% of the IT budget in enterprises is devoted to managing networks, yet, configuration errors account for 62% of network downtime, and enable over 65% of cyber-attacks.

In this talk, Dr. Rao will describe his group’s research on systematic approaches to the design, configuration, and migration of enterprise networks. Their approach centers around abstracting key enterprise design tasks in ways that (i) capture the high-level operator goals of a network design (e.g., performance, security, or resilience); and (ii) capture the requirements of the network as a whole rather than of individual devices. The abstractions developed are based on studies of actual network designs, and iterative interactions with operators. The abstractions, in turn, simplify the top-down design of networks and validation of existing network designs. As a case study, Dr. Rao will talk about our work on modeling and analyzing policies for services differentiation (Class of Service) used in enterprises today.

Dr. Rao will then talk about challenges in migrating enterprise data-centers to new network architectures, such as cloud-based models. In particular, he will discuss our recent work on migrating enterprise services into hybrid cloud-based deployments where enterprise operations are partly hosted on-premise, and partly in the cloud.


Sanjay G. Rao is an Assistant Professor in the ECE Department at Purdue University, where he leads the Internet Systems Laboratory. His research interests are in Networking, more specifically in Peer-to-Peer systems, and Enterprise Network Management. He received the Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and the Ph.D. from the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. He was a visiting researcher in the Network Measurement and Management group at AT&T Research in Summer 2006. He has played a leadership role in the End System Multicast project – the project pioneers P2P live-streaming, which is now a mainstream research area and an emerging commercial sector. He is a recipient of the NSF Career award, and his research has been funded by NSF, Cisco, and AT&T. He has served on the Technical Program Committees of several workshops and conferences including ACM Sigcomm, IEEE Infocom, and ACM CoNext, and is the technical program co-chair of the INM/WREN workshop (on Internet Network Management and enterprise networks) to be held in conduction with NSDI 2010.

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