WARF: P120286US01

New Framework Helps Compose and Scale Middlebox Software Modules for Cloud Computing


Srinivasa Akella, Ashok Anand, Aaron Gember-Jacobson, Robert Grandl, Theophilus Benson

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing Stratos, a framework that recognizes middleboxes as first-class entities and enables cloud users to easily optimize their usage.
OVERVIEWCloud computing is an emerging model for the delivery and consumption of information technology (IT) resources. Infrastructure-as-a-service cloud providers deliver virtual servers along with network connectivity and storage on demand. The providers automatically provision these resources as they are requested by end users. The end users may leverage virtual servers from third-party vendors, in-house data centers or a combination of the two to meet their IT needs.

As end users deploy applications on these virtual servers, they also frequently need to deploy important supporting services within the networks to ensure the security and performance of the applications. These supporting services are hardware or software modules, called middleboxes, which examine and modify network traffic. Examples include firewalls, load balancers and duplication elimination systems.

Including middleboxes in today’s infrastructure-as-a-service clouds is extremely challenging due to a lack of support, vulnerability to overload and suboptimal placement. Existing technologies require complex, labor intensive redesigns to secure and optimize performance.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a new methodology for managing these challenges. Called Stratos, the framework recognizes middleboxes as first-class entities in cloud infrastructures – centralizing and automating configuration, management, scaling and placement of middleboxes – empowering end users to easily secure and optimize their applications.
  • Software offered to consumers by cloud providers and IT vendors
  • Deployable in today’s clouds
  • Stratos could be offered as an additional service without requiring changes to existing network infrastructure.
  • Allows ready connection and data balancing between middleboxes
  • Controls data transport within a cloud without accessing its internal controls
  • Low overhead
  • Helps cloud users meet application service level agreements (SLAs)
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe development of this technology was supported by WARF Accelerator. WARF Accelerator selects WARF's most commercially promising technologies and provides expert assistance and funding to enable achievement of commercially significant milestones. WARF believes that these technologies are especially attractive opportunities for licensing.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Emily Bauer at or 608-960-9842.
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