Co-opting Linux Processes for High-Performance Network Simulation


Rob Jansen, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory; Jim Newsome, Tor Project; Ryan Wails, Georgetown University, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Awarded Best Paper!


Network experimentation tools are vitally important to the process of developing, evaluating, and testing distributed systems. The state-of-the-art simulation tools are either prohibitively inefficient at large scales or are limited by nontrivial architectural challenges, inhibiting their widespread adoption. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of Phantom, a novel tool for conducting distributed system experiments. In Phantom, a discrete-event network simulator directly executes unmodified applications as Linux processes and innovatively synthesizes efficient process control, system call interposition, and data transfer methods to co-opt the processes into the simulation environment. Our evaluation demonstrates that Phantom is up to 2.2× faster than Shadow, up to 3.4× faster than NS-3, and up to 43× faster than gRaIL in large P2P benchmarks while offering performance comparable to Shadow in large Tor network simulations.

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@inproceedings {280766,
author = {Rob Jansen and Jim Newsome and Ryan Wails},
title = {Co-opting Linux Processes for {High-Performance} Network Simulation},
booktitle = {2022 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 22)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-29-52},
address = {Carlsbad, CA},
pages = {327--350},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul,