Ashman: A Bandwidth Fragmentation-Based Dynamic Flow Scheduling for Data Center Networks


Current data center (DC) topologies provide redundant paths to satisfy significant communication requirements. Researchers have proposed various approaches including static and dynamic ones to utilize path diversity more effectively. The static methods adopt hash-based way to distribute flows onto multiple paths randomly, while the dynamic ones relying on centralized controller place flows on candidate paths. Unfortunately, the existing flow-scheduling policies have ignored and even resulted in network bandwidth fragmentation which adversely slows down transmission rate of new flows or affects chances of accepting new flow requests, especially when the granularity of flows is larger. This phenomenon is considered as a bottleneck for higher utilization of bandwidth resource in DCs. In this paper, we are the first to identify and define network bandwidth fragmentation within DC. Accordingly, we present Ashman, a flow-based dynamic scheduling approach to reduce bandwidth fragmentation by proactively considering potential large flows. This policy dynamically schedules the existing large flows to resolve congestions and maximize bandwidth utilization and network throughput. We describe our design and implementation in OpenFlow framework with unmodified hosts. Our evaluation on the software-defined networking simulator called Mininet demonstrates that Ashman effectively reduces bandwidth fragmentation, and thereby achieves higher network bandwidth utilization and the overall throughput of DC.

In The Computer Journal, Oxford.