For more than a year, Microsoft has been simulating its entire Azure network infrastructure as a way to find bugs and troubleshoot problems before they become network outages. Microsoft has officially named this technology Open Network Emulator (ONE). And now it is planning to open source the replication technology, according to a podcast with Victor Bahl, a distinguished scientist with Microsoft Research.
It’s been impossible to completely duplicate cloud-scale networks, because obviously — their scale. But Microsoft’s ONE has cracked the nut. And now the Redmond, Washington-based company plans to make the technology openly available.
“The way the emulator works is that networking engineers and operators, when they do changes, they actually are changing the emulator,” said Bahl. “Because it mimics the network underneath so amazingly that you can’t tell the difference. So, once you make the changes, the emulator will then try them out and make sure everything is good. Once everything is good, it’s going to go and put it on the network below.”
He said there were some “major technical problems” that Microsoft needed to solve. And now, the company has decided that its Open Network Emulator is too important to keep to itself.
“We have decided that this is such an important resource for everybody that just hoarding it ourselves is not the right thing to do,” Bahl said. “So, we are making it available to the entire community so that they can now – and it’s not just for production systems, but also for students that are now graduating. Because it emulates the network so well, they can actually do some amazing research without having major data centers available to them.”
It’s unknown when Microsoft will open-source the software. The project is not yet mentioned on the code repository GitHub. Microsoft, coincidentally, is in the process of acquiring GitHub for $7.5 billion.