Stroboscope: Declarative Network Monitoring on a Budget


Olivier Tilmans, Université Catholique de Louvain; Tobias Bühler, ETH Zürich; Ingmar Poese, BENOCS; Stefano Vissicchio, University College London; Laurent Vanbever, ETH Zürich


For an Internet Service Provider (ISP), getting an accurate picture of how its network behaves is challenging. Indeed, given the carried traffic volume and the impossibility to control end-hosts, ISPs often have no other choice but to rely on heavily sampled traffic statistics, which provide them with coarse-grained visibility at a less than ideal time resolution (seconds or minutes).

We present Stroboscope, a system that enables finegrained monitoring of any traffic flow by instructing routers to mirror millisecond-long traffic slices in a programmatic way. Stroboscope takes as input high-level monitoring queries together with a budget and automatically determines: (i) which flows to mirror; (ii) where to place mirroring rules, using fast and provably correct algorithms; and (iii) when to schedule these rules to maximize coverage while meeting the input budget.

We implemented Stroboscope, and show that it scales well: it computes schedules for large networks and query sizes in few seconds, and produces a number of mirroring rules well within the limits of current routers. We also show that Stroboscope works on existing routers and is therefore immediately deployable.

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@inproceedings {211289,
author = {Olivier Tilmans and Tobias B{\"u}hler and Ingmar Poese and Stefano Vissicchio and Laurent Vanbever},
title = {Stroboscope: Declarative Network Monitoring on a Budget},
booktitle = {15th {USENIX} Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation ({NSDI} 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-931971-43-0},
address = {Renton, WA},
pages = {467--482},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},