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Title: An infrastructure for end customer metering of networked services
Author: Pias, Marcelo Rita
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2004
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The Internet today is driven by business relations between customers and service providers. An increasing number of services offered in this context require guaranteed quality, specified as part of a contract. The challenge is then to guarantee Quality of Service (QoS) in a best effort network, such as the Internet. Existing standards (IETF DiffServ/Intserv) provide means to offer this QoS. How these services ought to be charged is another important aspect, as it gives the provider incentives to recover its costs and make a stream of revenue. It is argued that before any real deployment of QoS and charging mechanisms takes place, other developments have to occur. Services provided to end-customers need to be measured according to the terms stated in the contract. Such terms specify the acceptable performance level in the service level agreement (SLA), in addition to a tariff used to charge for the service. Thus, a metering system to report and store resource usage information is necessary to (a) dynamically assert whether a service delivered conforms to its SLA, and (b) charge for the service based on the tariff. Metering in this business scenario, however, poses issues that need to be addressed. Security is an important one, as there will be incentives for customers or providers to cheat. Also, the metering system has to be instructed to measure whatever parameters the service contract relies on, therefore requiring its automatic configuration and management. Finding the limitations of a measurement system in terms of performance is another relevant aspect, so as to help the understanding of its operation in heterogeneous host environments. The thesis of this work is that an infrastructure tailored for end-customer metering of networked services is necessary to address the above issues. The main contributions of this dissertation can be summarised as follows: (a) The EdgeMeter system is proposed to facilitate the metering of services in a general business context. It supports safe transport and storage of measurement data, as well as flexible configuration of metering points based on SLA/Tariffs automatically distributed by service providers; (b) A modular approach allows extensibility and flexibility of this infrastructure. Measurement modules can be stored and located in the network. A scalable network location framework. Lighthouse, is proposed and evaluated. It is shown that this framework computes more accurate network locations, when compared to other related techniques; (c) A security framework based on a trustworthy third-party component, the Meter Inspection Authority (MIA), is proposed to tackle security issues. MIA endorses the accuracy and safety of metering systems; (d) To assess the performance of metering systems, experimental work is carried out using a prototype implementation of EdgeMeter. It is found that the performance of such systems has strong influence on accuracy. Under certain loads, in which the normal behaviour of the system is degraded (poor performance), the metering service may be inaccurate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available