LightGuardian: A Full-Visibility, Lightweight, In-band Telemetry System Using Sketchlets


Yikai Zhao, Kaicheng Yang, and Zirui Liu, Peking University; Tong Yang, Peking University and Peng Cheng Laboratory; Li Chen, Huawei Theory Lab; Shiyi Liu, Naiqian Zheng, Ruixin Wang, and Hanbo Wu, Peking University; Yi Wang, Southern University of Science and Technology and Peng Cheng Laboratory; Nicholas Zhang, Huawei Theory Lab


Network traffic measurement is central to successful network operations, especially for today's hyper-scale networks. Although existing works have made great contributions, they fail to achieve the following three criteria simultaneously: 1) full-visibility, which refers to the ability to acquire any desired per-hop flow-level information for all flows; 2) low overhead in terms of computation, memory, and bandwidth; and 3) robustness, meaning the system can survive partial network failures. We design LightGuardian to meet these three criteria. Our key innovation is a (small) constant-sized data structure, called sketchlet, which can be embedded in packet headers. Specifically, we design a novel SuMax sketch to accurately capture flow-level information. SuMax can be divided into sketchlets, which are carried in-band by passing packets to the end-hosts for aggregation, reconstruction, and analysis. We have fully implemented a LightGuardian prototype on a testbed with 10 programmable switches and 8 end-hosts in a FatTree topology, and conduct extensive experiments and evaluations. Experimental results show that LightGuardian can obtain per-flow per-hop flow-level information within 1.0 ∼ 1.5 seconds with consistently low overhead, using only 0.07% total bandwidth capacity of the network. We believe LightGuardian is the first system to collect perflow per-hop information for all flows in the network with negligible overhead.

NSDI '21 Open Access Sponsored by NetApp

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@inproceedings {265015,
author = {Yikai Zhao and Kaicheng Yang and Zirui Liu and Tong Yang and Li Chen and Shiyi Liu and Naiqian Zheng and Ruixin Wang and Hanbo Wu and Yi Wang and Nicholas Zhang},
title = {{LightGuardian}: A {Full-Visibility}, Lightweight, In-band Telemetry System Using Sketchlets},
booktitle = {18th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 21)},
year = {2021},
isbn = {978-1-939133-21-2},
pages = {991--1010},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = apr

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