The evolution of network configuration: A tale of two campuses

Hyojoon Kim, Theophilus Benson, Aditya Akella, Nick Feamster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

46 Scopus citations


Studying network configuration evolution can improve our understanding of the evolving complexity of networks and can be helpful in making network configuration less error-prone. Unfortunately, the nature of changes that operators make to network configuration is poorly understood. Towards improving our understanding, we examine and analyze five years of router, switch, and firewall configurations from two large campus networks using the logs from version control systems used to store the configurations. We study how network configuration is distributed across different network operations tasks and how the configuration for each task evolves over time, for different types of devices and for different locations in the network. To understand the trends of how configuration evolves over time, we study the extent to which configuration for various tasks are added, modified, or deleted. We also study whether certain devices experience configuration changes more frequently than others, as well as whether configuration changes tend to focus on specific portions of the configuration (or on specific tasks). We also investigate when network operators make configuration changes of various types. Our results concerning configuration changes can help the designers of configuration languages understand which aspects of configuration might be more automated or tested more rigorously and may ultimately help improve configuration languages.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationIMC'11 - Proceedings of the 2011 ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC'11 - Berlin, Germany
Duration: Nov 2 2011Nov 4 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC


Other2011 ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC'11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • longitudinal analysis
  • network configuration
  • network evolution


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