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How Google Uses Espresso to Connect to the Public Internet

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At the Open Networking Summit, Google engineers highlighted the capabilities of their Software Defined Networking (SDN) strategy, including the peering edge architecture named Espresso. Google fellow Amin Vahdat and distinguished engineer Bikash Koley claim the technology delivers "unprecedented scale, flexibility and efficiency," as demonstrated from over two years in production.

Google generates more than 25 percent of all Internet traffic, and relies on connections to major Internet Service Providers around the globe. Improving the connectivity with these ISPs requires capabilities beyond existing Internet protocols. Espresso is the fourth pillar of Google's SDN strategy and focuses on optimizing the performance and availability of these peering connections.

Real-time measurements of end-to-end network connections allow Espresso to dynamically choose from where to serve content, instead of relying on more static analysis and routing paths. End users benefit with higher perceived quality, and Google Cloud is able to achieve higher internal availability and performance than the general Internet

Espresso also replaces the concept of individual router "boxes" with a distributed system. Google's large-scale computing infrastructure performs more complex analysis of traffic than could be achieve with thousands of discrete routers.

The design of Espresso aligns with Google's overall goals for their SDN strategy, to have the network treated as a large-scale, distributed system, with the same management and control as found in Google's compute and storage systems.

Espresso joins the other three components of Google's SDN, Jupiter, B4, and Andromeda. While Espresso deals with peer connections to ISPs, Jupiter handles traffic within a datacenter, and B4 addresses connections between datacenters. Andromeda is the Network Function Virtualization stack that provides monitoring and management.

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