August 21, 2017

Engineering Egress with Edge Fabric: Steering Oceans of Content to the World

ACM SIGCOMM

By: Brandon Schlinker, Hyojeong Kim, Timothy Cui, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Harsha V. Madhyastha, Italo Cunha, James Quinn, Saif Hasan, Petr Lapukhov, James Hongyi Zeng

Abstract

Large content providers build points of presence around the world, each connected to tens or hundreds of networks. Ideally, this connectivity lets providers better serve users, but providers cannot obtain enough capacity on some preferred peering paths to handle peak traffic demands. These capacity constraints, coupled with volatile traffic and performance and the limitations of the 20 year old BGP protocol, make it difficult to best use this connectivity.

We present Edge Fabric, an SDN-based system we built and deployed to tackle these challenges for Facebook, which serves over two billion users from dozens of points of presence on six continents. We provide the first public details on the connectivity of a provider of this scale, including opportunities and challenges. We describe how Edge Fabric operates in near real-time to avoid congesting links at the edge of Facebook’s network. Our evaluation on production traffic worldwide demonstrates that Edge Fabric efficiently uses interconnections without congesting them and degrading performance.We also present real-time performance measurements of available routes and investigate incorporating them into routing decisions. We relate challenges, solutions, and lessons from four years of operating and evolving Edge Fabric.