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NES: Towards lifecycle automation for emulation-based experimentation

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paperpeer-review

Publication date30/01/2023
Host publicationIEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium
Place of PublicationMiami, United States
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Network softwarization has revitalized the interest of the network community towards emulation as an effective mechanism for network experimentation. Relevant platforms automate the deployment of virtual network topologies on a host, providing users the ability to manually run experimental scenarios. Whilst this may suit prototyping, modern development and deployment practices such as CI/CD depend on fully automated testing processes, built around high-level testing APIs and abstracting the challenges involved with synchronizing complex node interaction scenarios. In this paper, we present Network Emulation System (NES): a cloud-native, and highly parallelizable Network Emulation as a Service (NEaaS) platform designed from the ground up to facilitate codeless experiment specification and to automate network testing workflows in cloud CI/CD environments. We demonstrate that NES offers a 8x speed-up improvement in topology instantiation times in comparison to existing emulation platforms, and its life-cycle model can automate testing processes for complex service configurations using existing CI/CD platforms such as GitHub Actions.