vBET: a VM-Based Education Testbed

Project Overview

With the increasing requirement of robustness and predictability for network protocols and distributed systems, it becomes desirable to develop realistic, customizable, and scalable emulation testbeds for the testing and evaluation of network and distributed protocols. A number of recently proposed emulation testbeds, such as PlanetLab, Emulab, and ModelNet. have clearly demonstrated the advantage and promise of this approach. Meanwhile, more efforts are necessary to achieve higher degree of flexibility and reality, as well as customizability, such as stronger support for arbitrary topology setup and core node customization.

In this project, we design and prototype vBET, a versatile and scalable emulation testbed based on the virtual machine technology. vBET is formed by one or more physical commodity servers, and is therefore readily and locally deployable in any instruction lab. vBET creates a virtual distributed environment with both network infrastructure and end systems. Each entity, such as a router, a switch, a firewall, or an application-level proxy, is emulated by a virtual machine running unmodified system or application software. Furthermore, the entities emulated by vBET are user-configurable and can be deployed on-demand. The same vBET (physical) server can be easily configured and setup as the testbed for different purposes, such as Internet routing, distributed firewalls, or peer-to-peer networks.