Exploiting Path Diversity in Datacenters using MPTCP-aware SDN

Research paper by Savvas Zannettou, Michael Sirivianos, Fragkiskos Papadopoulos

Indexed on: 30 Nov '15Published on: 30 Nov '15Published in: Computer Science - Networking and Internet Architecture


Recently, Multipath TCP (MPTCP) has been proposed as an alternative transport approach for datacenter networks. MPTCP provides the ability to split a flow into multiple paths thus providing better performance and resilience to failures. Usually, MPTCP is combined with flow-based Equal-Cost Multi-Path Routing (ECMP), which uses random hashing to split the MPTCP subflows over different paths. However, random hashing can be suboptimal as distinct subflows may end up using the same paths, while other available paths remain unutilized. In this paper, we explore an MPTCP-aware SDN controller that facilitates an alternative routing mechanism for the MPTCP subflows. The controller uses packet inspection to provide deterministic subflow assignment to paths. Using the controller, we show that MPTCP can deliver significantly improved performance when connections are not limited by the access links of hosts. To lessen the effect of throughput limitation due to access links, we also investigate the usage of multiple interfaces at the hosts. We demonstrate, using our modification of the MPTCP Linux Kernel, that using multiple subflows per pair of IP addresses can yield improved performance in multi-interface settings.