The middlebox manifesto: Enabling innovation in middlebox deployment
Most network deployments respond to changing application, workload, and policy requirements via the deployment of specialized network appliances or "middleboxes". Despite the critical role that middleboxes play in introducing new network functionality, they have been surprisingly ignored in recent efforts for designing networks that are amenable to innovation. We make the case that enabling innovation in middleboxes is at least as important, if not more important, as that for traditional switches and routers. To this end, our vision is a world with software-centric middlebox implementations running on general-purpose hardware platforms that are managed via open and extensible management APIs. While these principles have been applied in other contexts, they introduce unique opportunities and challenges in the context of middleboxes that we highlight in this paper. © 2011 ACM.