An Experimentation Workbench for Replayable Networking Research
Proceedings of the 4th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI) 2007.
The networked and distributed systems research communities have an increasing need for “replayable” research, but our current experimentation resources fall short of satisfying this need. Replayable activities are those that can be re-executed, either as-is or in modified form, yielding new results that can be compared to previous ones. Replayability requires complete records of experiment processes and data, of course, but it also requires facilities that allow those processes to actually be examined, repeated, modified, and reused.
We are now evolving Emulab, our popular network testbed management system, to be the basis of a new experimentation workbench in support of realistic, large-scale, replayable research. We have implemented a new model of testbed-based experiments that allows people to move forward and backward through their experimentation processes. Integrated tools help researchers manage their activities (both planned and unplanned), software artifacts, data, and analyses. We present the workbench, describe its implementation, and report how it has been used by early adopters. Our initial case studies highlight both the utility of the current workbench and additional usability challenges that must be addressed.