Implementing the Emulab-PlanetLab Portal: Experiences and Lessons Learned

Kirk Webb, Mike Hibler, Robert Ricci, Austin Clements, and Jay Lepreau

University of Utah, School of Computing
50 South Central Campus Drive, Room 3190
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9205


Emulab's PlanetLab portal, hereafter known as the "portal," provides access to the large-scale, geographically distributed resources of the PlanetLab testbed using the integrated Emulab interface. The portal provides sophisticated resource allocation, configuration, and management services, while hiding from the user the underlying low-level detail and complexity of distributed resource provisioning and failure management. Moreover, it does so while minimizing the impact on the underlying PlanetLab system.

In the process of creating this portal and tracking PlanetLab's evolving third-party service API, we identified several key issues in the design of such platforms and the management systems built on top of them. This paper uses our portal as a basis for discussing these issues, and presents the lessons we have learned during its design and implementation.

Appeared in Proceedings of the First Workshop on Real, Large Distributed Systems (WORLDS 2004), San Francisco, CA, Dec. 2004.

The slides from the WORLDS 2004 presentation are also online:

Kirk Webb <>
Last modified: Thu Jul 28 09:40:51 MDT 2005