Colloquium: Networking as a First-Class Cloud Resource

Red Hat Collaboratory at Boston University Colloquium

Rodrigo Fonseca

Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, Brown University

Networking as a First-Class Cloud Resource


Tenants in a cloud can specify, and are generally charged by, resources such as CPU, storage, and memory. There are dozens of different bundles of these resources tenants can choose from, and many different pricing schemes, including spot markets for left over resource. This is not the case for networking, however. Most of the time, networking is treated as basic infrastructure, and tenants, apart from connectivity, have very little to choose from in terms of network properties such as priorities, bandwidth, or deadlines for flows.

In this talk I look into why that is, and whether networking could be treated as a first-class resource. The networking community has developed plenty of mechanisms for different networking properties, and programmable network elements enable much more fine-grained control and allocation of network resources. We argue that there may be a catch-22, as tenants can’t specify what they want, and providers, not seeing different needs, don’t provide different services, or charge differently for these services. I will discuss a prototype we have designed with the Mass Open Cloud project, which provides a much more expressive interface between tenants and the cloud for networking resources, improving efficiency, fostering innovation, and even allowing for a marketplace for networking resources.


Rodrigo Fonseca is an associate professor at Brown University’s Computer Science Department. He holds a PhD from UC Berkeley, and a MSc and BSc from UFMG. Prior to Brown, he was also a visiting researcher at Yahoo! Research. He is broadly interested in networking, distributed systems, and operating systems, and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, and of a 2015 SOSP Best Paper Award. His research involves seeking better ways to build, operate, and diagnose distributed systems,
including large-scale internet systems, cloud computing, and mobile computing.


  • 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Pizza & Networking
  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM: Talk and Discussion


Contact the Collaboratory with any questions you may have about this event.

Recording of Event

This talk was held as scheduled. A recording can be accessed here.  Slides can be accessed here.