HTTP: An Evolvable Narrow Waist for the Future Internet

Lucian Popa, Patrick Wendell, Ali Ghodsi and Ion Stoica

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2012-5
January 4, 2012

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-5.pdf

While the Internet is designed to accommodate multiple transport and application layer protocols, a large and growing fraction of Internet traffic runs directly over HTTP. Observing that HTTP is poised to become the de-facto “narrow waist” of the modern Internet, this paper asks whether an HTTP narrow waist, compared with the an IP-layer waist, facilitates a more evolvable Internet. Evolvability is highly desirable for the Internet, since communication patterns change must faster than the underlying infrastructure. Furthermore, the narrow waist plays in important role in enabling or preventing architectural evolvability. We argue that HTTP is highly evolvable, due to (i) naming flexibility, (ii) indirection support, and (iii) explicit middleboxes. We point to evolving uses of HTTP on today’s Internet, and designing our own publisher/subscribe service, HTTP Relay Service (HTTP-RS), on top of HTTP.


BibTeX citation:

@techreport{Popa:EECS-2012-5,
    Author = {Popa, Lucian and Wendell, Patrick and Ghodsi, Ali and Stoica, Ion},
    Title = {HTTP: An Evolvable Narrow Waist for the Future Internet},
    Institution = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2012},
    Month = {Jan},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-5.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2012-5},
    Abstract = {While the Internet is designed to accommodate multiple
transport and application layer protocols, a large and
growing fraction of Internet traffic runs directly over
HTTP. Observing that HTTP is poised to become the
de-facto “narrow waist” of the modern Internet, this
paper asks whether an HTTP narrow waist, compared
with the an IP-layer waist, facilitates a more evolvable
Internet. Evolvability is highly desirable for the Internet,
since communication patterns change must faster than
the underlying infrastructure. Furthermore, the narrow
waist plays in important role in enabling or preventing
architectural evolvability. We argue that HTTP is highly
evolvable, due to (i) naming flexibility, (ii) indirection
support, and (iii) explicit middleboxes. We point to
evolving uses of HTTP on today’s Internet, and designing
our own publisher/subscribe service, HTTP Relay
Service (HTTP-RS), on top of HTTP.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Report
%A Popa, Lucian
%A Wendell, Patrick
%A Ghodsi, Ali
%A Stoica, Ion
%T HTTP: An Evolvable Narrow Waist for the Future Internet
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2012
%8 January 4
%@ UCB/EECS-2012-5
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-5.html
%F Popa:EECS-2012-5