HeavyKeeper: An Accurate Algorithm for Finding Top-k Elephant Flows


Junzhi Gong, Tong Yang, Haowei Zhang, and Hao Li, Peking University; Steve Uhlig, Queen Mary, University of London; Shigang Chen, University of Florida; Lorna Uden, Staffordshire University; Xiaoming Li, Peking University


Finding top-k elephant flows is a critical task in network traffic measurement, with many applications in congestion control, anomaly detection and traffic engineering. As the line rates keep increasing in today's networks, designing accurate and fast algorithms for online identification of elephant flows becomes more and more challenging. The prior algorithms are seriously limited in achieving accuracy under the constraints of heavy traffic and small on-chip memory in use. We observe that the basic strategies adopted by these algorithms either require significant space overhead to measure the sizes of all flows or incur significant inaccuracy when deciding which flows to keep track of. In this paper, we adopt a new strategy, called count-with-exponential-decay, to achieve space-accuracy balance by actively removing small flows through decaying, while minimizing the impact on large flows, so as to achieve high precision in finding top-k elephant flows. Moreover, the proposed algorithm called HeavyKeeper incurs small, constant processing overhead per packet and thus supports high line rates. Experimental results show that HeavyKeeper algorithm achieves 99.99% precision with a small memory size, and reduces the error by around 3 orders of magnitude on average compared to the state-of-the-art.

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@inproceedings {215977,
author = {Junzhi Gong and Tong Yang and Haowei Zhang and Hao Li and Steve Uhlig and Shigang Chen and Lorna Uden and Xiaoming Li},
title = {{HeavyKeeper}: An Accurate Algorithm for Finding Top-k Elephant Flows},
booktitle = {2018 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-939133-01-4},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {909--921},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/atc18/presentation/gong},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul,

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