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Akhtar, Nabeel, Matta, Ibrahim, Raza, Ali, Wang, Yuefeng.  2018.  EL-SEC: ELastic Management of Security Applications on Virtualized Infrastructure. IEEE INFOCOM 2018 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops (INFOCOM WKSHPS). :778-783.

The concept of Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) aims to move Network Functions (NFs) out of dedicated hardware devices into software that runs on commodity hardware. A single NF consists of multiple VNF instances, usually running on virtual machines in a cloud infrastructure. The elastic management of an NF refers to load management across the VNF instances and the autonomic scaling of the number of VNF instances as the load on the NF changes. In this paper, we present EL-SEC, an autonomic framework to elastically manage security NFs on a virtualized infrastructure. As a use case, we deploy the Snort Intrusion Detection System as the NF on the GENI testbed. Concepts from control theory are used to create an Elastic Manager, which implements various controllers - in this paper, Proportional Integral (PI) and Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) - to direct traffic across the VNF Snort instances by monitoring the current load. RINA (a clean-slate Recursive InterNetwork Architecture) is used to build a distributed application that monitors load and collects Snort alerts, which are processed by the Elastic Manager and an Attack Analyzer, respectively. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is used to steer traffic through the VNF instances, and to block attack traffic. Our results show that virtualized security NFs can be easily deployed using our EL-SEC framework. With the help of real-time graphs, we show that PI and PID controllers can be used to easily scale the system, which leads to quicker detection of attacks.

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Raza, Ali, Zaki, Yasir, Pötsch, Thomas, Chen, Jay, Subramanian, Lakshmi.  2017.  xCache: Rethinking Edge Caching for Developing Regions. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development. :5:1–5:11.

End-users in emerging markets experience poor web performance due to a combination of three factors: high server response time, limited edge bandwidth and the complexity of web pages. The absence of cloud infrastructure in developing regions and the limited bandwidth experienced by edge nodes constrain the effectiveness of conventional caching solutions for these contexts. This paper describes the design, implementation and deployment of xCache, a cloud-managed Internet caching architecture that aims to proactively profile popular web pages and maintain the liveness of popular content at software defined edge caches to enhance the cache hit rate with minimal bandwidth overhead. xCache uses a Cloud Controller that continuously analyzes active cloud-managed web pages and derives an object-group representation of web pages based on the objects of a page. Using this object-group representation, xCache computes a bandwidth-aware utility measure to derive the most valuable configuration for each edge cache. Our preliminary real-world deployment across university campuses in three developing regions demonstrates its potential compared to conventional caching by improving cache hit rates by about 15%. Our evaluations of xCache have also shown that it can be applied in conjunction with other web optimizations solutions like Shandian, and can improve page load times by more than 50%.