Scalable network management using lightweight programmable network services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Although the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) has proven to be a powerful tool for network administrators, it is widely accepted that SNMP does not offer the scalability or the functionality needed to manage large systems of routers and end systems. Active/programmable networks and mobile agent systems have been proposed as alternative network management solutions, offering new functionality and better scalability. Unfortunately, the flexibility and programmability of these (heavyweight) systems comes with its own set of problems, which has prevented them from becoming widely adopted. This paper presents an ultra-lightweight programmable network service called ephemeral state processing (ESP) that can be used to efficiently monitor and collect information from large-scale networks. Although the service offers a limited set of features, the building blocks it does offer can be combined in novel ways to solve a wide range of network management problems while avoiding the problems that plague (heavyweight) active network approaches. The simplicity of ESP allows us to make it available as a general-purpose service that can be used by all packets in the network. We demonstrate the utility of the service by showing how it can be used to efficiently solve common network management problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-47
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Network and Systems Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support of DARPA, the US National Science Foundation (EIA-0101242), the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation, Intel Corporation, and Cisco Systems. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous referees for their constructive suggestions.


  • Ephemeral state
  • Lightweight network services
  • Network management
  • Programmable networks
  • Scalability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Scalable network management using lightweight programmable network services'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this