An Experimentation Workbench for Replayable Networking Research

Eric Eide, Leigh Stoller, and Jay Lepreau

University of Utah, School of Computing


The networked and distributed systems research communities have an increasing need for “replayable” research, but our current experimentation resources fall short of satisfying this need. Replayable activities are those that can be re-executed, either as-is or in modified form, yielding new results that can be compared to previous ones. Replayability requires complete records of experiment processes and data, of course, but it also requires facilities that allow those processes to actually be examined, repeated, modified, and reused.

We are now evolving Emulab, our popular network testbed management system, to be the basis of a new experimentation workbench in support of realistic, large-scale, replayable research. We have implemented a new model of testbed-based experiments that allows people to move forward and backward through their experimentation processes. Integrated tools help researchers manage their activities (both planned and unplanned), software artifacts, data, and analyses. We present the workbench, describe its implementation, and report how it has been used by early adopters. Our initial case studies highlight both the utility of the current workbench and additional usability challenges that must be addressed.

Appeared in Proceedings of the Fourth USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), pages 215–228, Cambridge, MA, Apr. 2007.

The slides from the NSDI 2007 presentation are also available.

Eric Eide <>
Last modified: Fri Apr 27 11:09:45 MDT 2007