Anees Shaikh

Anees Shaikh

Anees Shaikh is with the Global Networking team at Google where he works on software systems to support network management, cloud networking, and routing security in Google’s production networks. Prior to joining Google, he was the Chief SDN Architect in the System Networking product group at IBM, and a research lead at the T.J. Watson Research Center working in all three major divisions (software, services, and systems) of IBM Research.

Anees has published widely in the areas of networking, cloud computing, and system management, and has been an invited speaker in numerous industry forums. He has also been active in a number of open source and standards efforts, including ONF, OpenStack, and IETF, as well as helping to found the OpenDaylight and OpenConfig projects.

Authored Publications
Google Publications
Other Publications
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    A Decentralized SDN Architecture for the WAN
    Nitika Saran
    Ashok Narayanan
    Sylvia Ratnasamy
    Ali Al-Shabibi
    Ankit Singla
    Hakim Weatherspoon
    2024 ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM)(2024) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Motivated by our experiences operating a global WAN, we argue that SDN’s reliance on infrastructure external to the data plane has significantly complicated the challenge of maintaining high availability. We propose a new decentralized SDN (dSDN) architecture in which SDN control logic instead runs within routers, eliminating the control plane’s reliance on external infrastructure and restoring fate sharing between control and data planes. We present dSDN as a simpler approach to realizing the benefits of SDN in the WAN. Despite its much simpler design, we show that dSDN is practical from an implementation viewpoint, and outperforms centralized SDN in terms of routing convergence and SLO impact. View details
    Preview abstract Network management is becoming increasingly automated, and automation depends on detailed, explicit representations of data about both the state of a network, and about an operator’s intent for its networks. In particular, we must explicitly represent the desired and actual topology of a network; almost all other network-management data either derives from its topology, constrains how to use a topology, or associates resources (e.g., addresses) with specific places in a topology. We describe MALT, a Multi-Abstraction-Layer Topology representation, which supports virtually all of our network management phases: design, deployment, configuration, operation, measurement, and analysis. MALT provides interoperability across software systems, and its support for abstraction allows us to explicitly tie low-level network elements to high-level design intent. MALT supports a declarative style that simplifies what-if analysis and testbed support. We also describe the software base that supports efficient use of MALT, as well as numerous, sometimes painful lessons we have learned about curating the taxonomy for a comprehensive, and evolving, representation for topology. View details
    Preview abstract Standardized, vendor agnostic data models deliver major operational benefits. OpenConfig has been implemented on multiple platforms and is an ideal data model to take advantage of these benefits. This document provides an overview. View details
    Optical Zero Touch Networking - A Large Operator Perspective
    Nancy El-Sakkary
    Vijay Vusirikala
    OSA Technical Digest, OSA Publishing(2019)
    Preview abstract A key area of innovation in optical networking has been enabling modern, vendoragnostic APIs on devices. We provide specifics of how these new capabilities enable deployment and operational efficiencies. View details
    Preview abstract Legacy management technologies and concepts are a major blocker to efficiently building and operating a large scale optical network. We provide an overview of new, modern device management technologies and discuss deployment and operational efficiencies that they enable. View details
    Preview abstract Despite remarkable developments in open networking and SDN, a critical element of operating any network, the management plane, remains an afterthought. As the control and data planes open up, users are still firmly locked into a myriad of proprietary CLIs, APIs, and extensions to configure and monitor the network. In this talk, the presenters will describe a new way of managing, monitoring, and testing networking systems that is vendor-independent, comprehensive, and devised by a broad set of network operators collaborating with equipment and software vendors. The technologies in this ecosystem are designed for automated management systems and include open source data models, development tools, management protocols, and reference implementations. With these tools, the industry have an open, end-to-end open architecture that finally brings network management into the modern SDN era. View details
    Vendor-neutral Network Representations for Transport SDN
    Vinayak Dangui
    Vijay Vusirikala
    Proc. of Optical Fiber Communication Conference(2016)
    Preview abstract We describe a model-based approach for building a transport SDN platform that uses operator-defined data models to build common APIs for managing multi-vendor optical networks consisting of terminal devices and line systems. View details
    Preview abstract The networking industry has made good progress in the last few years on developing programmable interfaces and protocols for the control plane to enable a more dynamic and efficient infrastructure. Despite this progress, some parts of networking risk being left behind, most notably network management and configuration. The state-of-the-art in network management remains relegated to proprietary device interfaces (e.g., CLIs), imperative, incremental configuration, and lack of meaningful abstractions. We propose a framework for network configuration guided by software-defined networking principles, with a focus on developing common models of network devices, and common languages to describe network structure and policies. We also propose a publish/subscribe framework for next generation network telemetry, focused on streaming structured data from network elements themselves. View details
    Bringing SDN to the Management Plane
    Networking @Scale, Menlo Park, CA(2015)
    Preview abstract Google’s OpenConfig and the need for a network configuration framework guided by software-defined networking principles, with a focus on developing common models of network devices, and common languages to describe network structure and policies. View details
    Meridian: An SDN Platform for Cloud Network Services
    Mohammad Banikazemi
    David Olshefski
    John Tracey
    Guohui Wang
    IEEE Communications Magazine, 51(2013), pp. 120-127
    Preview abstract As the number and variety of applications and workloads moving to the cloud grows, networking capabilities have become increasingly important. Over a brief period, networking support offered by both cloud service providers and cloud controller platforms has developed rapidly. In most of these cloud networking service models, however, users must configure a variety of network-layer constructs such as switches, subnets, and ACLs, which can then be used by their cloud applications. In this article, we argue for a service-level network model that provides higher- level connectivity and policy abstractions that are integral parts of cloud applications. Moreover, the emergence of the software-defined networking (SDN) paradigm provides a new opportunity to closely integrate application provisioning in the cloud with the network through programmable interfaces and automation. We describe the architecture and implementation of Meridian, an SDN controller platform that supports a service-level model for application networking in clouds. We discuss some of the key challenges in the design and implementation, including how to efficiently handle dynamic updates to virtual networks, orchestration of network tasks on a large set of devices, and how Meridian can be integrated with multiple cloud controllers. View details
    Virtual Network Diagnosis as a Service
    Wenfei Wu
    Guohui Wang
    Aditya Akella
    Proc. of ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing(2013)
    Preview abstract Today’s cloud network platforms allow tenants to construct sophisticated virtual network topologies among their VMs on a shared physical network infrastructure. However, these platforms provide little support for tenants to diagnose problems in their virtual networks. Network virtualization hides the underlying infrastructure from tenants as well as prevents deploying existing network diagnosis tools. This paper makes a case for providing virtual network diagnosis as a service in the cloud. We identify a set of technical challenges in providing such a service and propose a Virtual Network Diagnosis (VND) framework. VND exposes abstract configuration and query interfaces for cloud tenants to troubleshoot their virtual networks. It controls software switches to collect flow traces, distributes traces storage, and executes distributed queries for different tenants for network diagnosis. It reduces the data collection and processing overhead by performing local flow capture and on-demand query execution. Our experiments validate VND’s functionality and shows its feasibility in terms of quick service response and acceptable overhead; our simulation proves the VND architecture scales to the size of a real data center network. View details
    On the Performance Benefits of Multihoming Route Control
    Aditya Akella
    Bruce Maggs
    Srinivasan Seshan
    IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, 16(2008), pp. 91-104
    Preview abstract Multihoming is increasingly being employed by large enterprises and data centers to extract good performance and reliability from their ISP connections. Multihomed end networks today can employ a variety of route control products to optimize their Internet access performance and reliability. However, little is known about the tangible benefits that such products can offer, the mechanisms they employ and their trade-offs. This paper makes two important contributions. First, we present a study of the potential improvements in Internet round-trip times (RTTs) and transfer speeds from employing multihoming route control. Our analysis shows that multihoming to three or more ISPs and cleverly scheduling traffic across the ISPs can improve Internet RTTs and throughputs by up to 25% and 20%, respectively. However, a careful selection of ISPs is important to realize the performance improvements. Second, focusing on large enterprises, we propose and evaluate a wide-range of route control mechanisms and evaluate their design trade-offs. We implement the proposed schemes on a Linux-based Web proxy and perform a trace-based evaluation of their performance. We show that both passive and active measurement-based techniques are equally effective and could improve the Web response times of enterprise networks by up to 25% on average, compared to using a single ISP. We also outline several "best common practices" for the design of route control products. View details