Network Virtualization and Data Center Networks

What's new?

  • Exam Date / Time / Location: Mo 27.01.2014 / 08:00-12:00 / CAB E76.
  • Oct 22: Added course calendar with deadlines: Google Calendar, iCal
  • Aug.22: Received Windows Azure Educator Grant.
  • Aug.20: Received Amazon AWS Education Coursework Grant.
  • Aug.10: Course page is up.


Date Lecture Topic Notes
Sept. 17 1 Introduction, A brief review 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Sept. 24 2 Overlay, RON 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Oct. 1 3 Network testbeds 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Oct. 8 4 Cloud computing 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Oct. 15 5 DC Virtualization 1: basics 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Oct. 22 6 DC Virtualization 2: VLAN, VRF, Virtual Context 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Oct. 29 7 DC Virtualization 3: Data Center Interconnect 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Nov. 5   NO lecture   
Nov. 12 8 SDN Introduction (4D, Ethane) 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Nov. 19 9 SDN Software Stack (OpenFlow, NOX, Onix) 1up-pdf, 6up-pdf 
Nov. 26 10 SDN Network Virtualization
(Open vSwitch, FlowVisor)
1up-pdf, 6up-pdf
Dec. 3 11 Guest lecture by Derk Valenkamp:
ETHZ network infrastructure
Dec. 10 12 Guest lecture by Jos Visser:
Challenges and Opportunities
in Warehouse Scale Computing
Dec. 17 13 Guest lecture by Qi Li:
Security issues in network virtualization


Date Assign. Topic Materials
Sept. 24 1ab Overlay network A1ab handout, slides 
Oct. 1 1ab Consultation  
Oct. 8 1cd

Evaluation A1AB
Presentation A1CD

A1cd handout, slides  
Oct. 15 1cd Consultation  
Oct. 22 2abcd Cloud-computing A2 handouts, slides
Oct. 29 2abcd Proposal Review  
Nov. 5 2abcd Consultation  
Nov. 12 2abcd Consultation  
Nov. 19 3 OpenFlow A3 handouts, slides


The course focus on the principles, architectures, evolvement, latest findings in various virtualized networks such as grid systems, cloud computing platforms, research network testbeds as well as data centers.

The goals of the course are, firstly, to give students an in-depth understanding of the research issues related to those virtualized infrastructures, and secondly, to provide them with practical experience of provisioning compute and network resources, evaluating their performance, and managing these resources through a series of lab exercises.

In this course we will read related papers and discuss the architectures, current trends and latest research in these virtualized infrastructures. We will also review related research topics including: active and programmable networks, overlay networks, server/storage/network virtualization.


The course consists of lectures, projects, and a written examination. The end of semester exam will be 2 hours, with no supporting material allowed. The final assessment will be a combination of projects and examination grades.

Exam Date / Time / Location: Mo 27.01.2014 / 08:00-12:00 / CAB E 76


Teaching Assistants

Course Hours

  • Lectures: Tue 09-11h, CHN D 44
  • Exercises: Tue 11-12h, CHN D 44

Computing facilities

  • PlanetLab
  • Windows Azure
  • Amazon AWS

Reading list

Lecture 1

  • Jennifer's ACN introduction slides [link]
  • How to read a paper [pdf]
  • (optional) The design philosophy of the DARPA internet protocols. D. Clark. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 18, 4 (August 1988), 106-114.

Lecture 2

  • Overcoming the Internet Impasse through Virtualization, Thomas Anderson, Larry Peterson, Scott Shenker, and Jonathan Turner. IEEE Computer 38, 4 (April 2005), 34-41.
  • Resilient Overlay Networks, by D. Andersen, H. Balakrishnan, F. Kaashoek and R. Morris, SOSP '01: Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, 2001
  • Overcast: Reliable Multicasting with an Overlay Network, by J. Jannotti, D.K. Gifford, K.L. Johnson, F. Kaashoek and J.W. O’Toole, Proceedings of the 4th Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 2000).

Lecture 3

  • Operating system support for planetary-scale network services. Andy Bavier, Mic Bowman, Brent Chun, David Culler, Scott Karlin, Steve Muir, Larry Peterson, Timothy Roscoe, Tammo Spalink, and Mike Wawrzoniak. 2004. In Proceedings of the 1st conference on Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation - Volume 1 (NSDI'04), Vol. 1. USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, USA.
  • An integrated experimental environment for distributed systems and networks. Brian White, Jay Lepreau, Leigh Stoller, Robert Ricci, Shashi Guruprasad, Mac Newbold, Mike Hibler, Chad Barb, and Abhijeet Joglekar. 2002. SIGOPS Oper. Syst. Rev. 36, SI (December 2002), 255-270.
  • (optional) In VINI veritas: realistic and controlled network experimentation. Andy Bavier, Nick Feamster, Mark Huang, Larry Peterson, and Jennifer Rexford. 2006. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 36, 4 (August 2006), 3-14.

Lecture 4

  • A break in the clouds: towards a cloud definition. Vaquero, L. M., Rodero-Merino, L., Caceres, J., and Lindner, M. 2008. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 39, 1 (Dec. 2008), 50-55.
  • Above the clouds: A Berkeley view of cloud computing. Armbrust, M., et al. Tech. Rep. UCB/EECS-2009-28, EECS Department, UC Berkeley, Feb 2009.
  • Introduction to Windows Azure: the cloud operating system. Mark Russinovich. 2011. [slides]
  • The Datacenter as a Computer: an introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines, Second Edition. Luiz Andre Barroso, Jimmy Clidaras, Urs Hoelzle. 2013. Morgan and Claypool Publishers.

Lecture 8

  • A clean slate 4D approach to network control and management. Albert Greenberg, Gisli Hjalmtysson, David A. Maltz, Andy Myers, Jennifer Rexford, Geoffrey Xie, Hong Yan, Jibin Zhan, and Hui Zhang. 2005. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 35, 5 (October 2005), 41-54.
  • Ethane: taking control of the enterprise. Martin Casado, Michael J. Freedman, Justin Pettit, Jianying Luo, Nick McKeown, and Scott Shenker. 2007. In Proceedings of the 2007 conference on Applications, technologies, architectures, and protocols for computer communications (SIGCOMM '07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1-12.
  • (Optional)The Past, Present, and Future of Software Defined Networking. Nick Feamster, Jennifer Rexford, and Ellen Zegura.

Lecture 9

  • OpenFlow: enabling innovation in campus networks. Nick McKeown, Tom Anderson, Hari Balakrishnan, Guru Parulkar, Larry Peterson, Jennifer Rexford, Scott Shenker, and Jonathan Turner. 2008. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 38, 2 (March 2008), 69-74.
  • NOX: towards an operating system for networks. Natasha Gude, Teemu Koponen, Justin Pettit, Ben Pfaff, Martin Casado, Nick McKeown, and Scott Shenker. 2008. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 38, 3 (July 2008), 105- 110.
  • Onix: a distributed control platform for large-scale production networks. Teemu Koponen, Martin Casado, Natasha Gude, Jeremy Stribling, Leon Poutievski, Min Zhu, Rajiv Ramanathan, Yuichiro Iwata, Hiroaki Inoue, Takayuki Hama, and Scott Shenker. 2010. In Proceedings of OSDI'10. USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, USA, 1-6.

Lecture 10

  • Extending networking into the virtualization layer. en Pfaff , Justin Pettit , Teemu Koponen , Keith Amidon , Martin Casado , Scott Shenker. In proceedings of the 8th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics inNetworks (HotNets-VIII). New YorkCity, NY (October 2009).
  • Can the production network be the testbed?. Rob Sherwood, Glen Gibb, Kok-Kiong Yap, Guido Appenzeller, Martin Casado, Nick McKeown, and Guru Parulkar. 2010. In Proceedings of the 9th USENIX conference on Operating systems design and implementation (OSDI'10). USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, USA, 1-6.
  • (Optional) Reproducible network experiments using container-based emulation. Nikhil Handigol, Brandon Heller, Vimalkumar Jeyakumar, Bob Lantz, and Nick McKeown. 2012. In Proceedings of the 8th international conference on Emerging networking experiments and technologies (CoNEXT '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 253-264.


This course was supported by an AWS in Education Grant award.