Measuring and troubleshooting Internet performance and availability is more important than ever before because of our reliance on high speed connectivity in virtually every aspect of our daily lives and the need for Internet Service Providers and telecom operators to provide good Quality of Experience to their users. NEC Laboratories Europe is addressing the challenges presented by today&rsquo…
Measuring and troubleshooting Internet performance and availability is more important than ever before because of our reliance on high speed connectivity in virtually every aspect of our daily lives and the need for Internet Service Providers and telecom operators to provide good Quality of Experience to their users. NEC Laboratories Europe is addressing the challenges presented by today’s distributed and diverse online environment by developing new monitoring and root cause analysis solutions in the research project mPlane (http://www.ict-mplane.eu), sponsored by the European Commission. The project involves a total of 16 partners in 9 European countries and is designed to benefit Internet Service Providers, mobile broadband operators, application providers and their end-users.
NEC is conducting cutting-edge research on systems and algorithms for “big data” mining and real-time network troubleshooting. In particular, NEC has developed Blockmon, a distributed processing platform for analyzing unbound data streams coming from multiple monitoring probes. Blockmon uses a number of processing blocks that are interconnected via gates and exchange messages to carry out discrete data traffic analysis tasks concurrently. The platform enables fine-grained tuning as it allows users to assign the execution of a block to a thread pool pinned to specific CPU cores. This stream analysis enables the efficient and speedy use of multi-core hardware. It also provides the flexibility to allocate code to the cores in a way that optimises caching effects, memory accesses or CPU utilisation rates to reduce processing overheads.
In contrast, existing systems automatically split data across the topology of computing nodes and cores in a fixed and inflexible way, which is often not tuned for performance. Blockmon has shown to outperform other state-of-the-art open-source stream-processing platforms up to twenty-three times according to laboratory tests. The platform has been released as open source software running on commodity hardware.
Jürgen Quittek, Head of the Network Research Division at NEC Laboratories Europe, commented, “The impressive performance that Blockmon provides has caught the attention of European telecom operators. They have started adopting Blockmon in their network monitoring infrastructures and see it as a flexible and customizable alternative to proprietary and closed-source solutions. In a six-month trial at a leading European telecom operator, Blockmon has shown excellent results outperforming the operator’s expectations by a factor of seven.”
On top of Blockmon, NEC has developed a rich set of applications for specific network analysis tasks. The latest is a troubleshooting tool for Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions that is able to determine the Quality-of-Experience (QoE) of thin-client users by monitoring the connections to the servers. After detecting poor QoE for a user, the tool performs a deep dive analysis and identifies the root cause in the Internet behind the quality degradation.
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