With the tremendous popularity gained by container technology, many applications are being containerized: splitting into numerous containers connected by networks. However, current container networking solutions have either bad performance or poor portability, which undermines the advantages of containerization. In this paper, we propose FreeFlow, a container networking solution which achieves both high performance and good portability. FreeFlow is designed according to the observation that strict isolations are unnecessary among containers trusting each other, and it can significantly boost the communication quality of containers by compromising isolation a little bit. Specifically, we enable containers on the same physical machine to communicate via shared-memory and the ones on different physical machines communicate via high performance networking options, e.g. RDMA and DPDK. Naively wrapping up all the solutions together will result in poor potability of containers and huge complexity in application development. Instead, FreeFlow leverages a network abstraction which supports all common network APIs and a centralized network orchestrator which decides how to deliver data transparently to applications in the containers.
Hongqiang (Harry) Liu is a Researcher in Microsoft Research, Redmond Lab. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer Science at Yale University in 2014, and his advisor is Prof. David Gelernter. Before joining Yale, he received his Master's and Bachelor's degrees from the Department of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing. His research interest lies on many fields of networking and cloud computing, including software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), and content delivery networks (CDN), edge computing, and network technologies for BigData, Linux container and virtual reality. Dr. Liu has published a number of papers in top-tier academic conferences, such as ACM SIGCOMM, USENIX NSDI and USENIX ATC. He is a recipient of the prestigious ACM SIGCOMM Doctoral Dissertation Award - Honorable Mention (2015) and Cascadia Innovation Fellowship (2011).