Microsoft researchers said they plan to open source open network simulators, a system that simulates the entire network to power the company’s hyperscale cloud platform. The company has been using it to test changes made to the net before deployment in production. After more than a year of use, the system that simulates the entire global network powers its Azure cloud to avoid the catastrophic mistakes engineers inevitably make.
The system is called the Open Network Emulator, or ONE for short, which simulates all the hardware and software devices that make up the network and how they are interconnected in software. Running in Docker containers and VMs, the goal is to test the changes that network engineers make before deploying to the real-time network, whose uptime is critical for many people and businesses.
Victor Bahl, a renowned scientist and director of mobile and networking at Microsoft Research, said in a live interview: “Our network is large, heterogeneous, complex and undergoes constant churns. In such an environment, even small issues triggered by device failures, buggy device software, configuration errors, unproven management tools and unavoidable human errors can quickly cause large outages. Therefore, the ability to validate the impact of every planned change in a realistic setting, before the change is deployed in production, is crucial to maintaining and improving the reliability of our network.“
Bahl explained that getting the public to access the technology will help large companies improve their network uptime, while also providing students and researchers with a tool to simulate extensive networks such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon without access. The actual situation can build and innovate the network itself.