A challenge arises on how to schedule the bulk data transfers at different urgency levels, in order to fully utilize the available inter-datacenter bandwidth. The Software Defined Networking (SDN) paradigm has emerged recently which decouples the control plane from the data paths, enabling potential global optimization of data routing in a network. This paper aims to design a dynamic, highly efficient bulk data transfer service in a geo-distributed datacenter system, and engineer its design and solution algorithms closely within an SDN architecture. We model data transfer demands as delay tolerant migration requests with different finishing deadlines. Thanks to the flexibility provided by SDN, we enable dynamic, optimal routing of distinct chunks within each bulk data transfer (instead of treating each transfer as an infinite flow), which can be temporarily stored at intermediate datacenters to mitigate bandwidth contention with more urgent transfers. An optimal chunk routing optimization model is formulated to solve for the best chunk transfer schedules over time. To derive the optimal schedules in an online fashion, three algorithms are discussed, namely a bandwidth-reserving algorithm, a dynamically-adjusting algorithm, and a future-demand-friendly algorithm, targeting at different levels of optimality and scalability. We build an SDN system based on the Beacon platform and Open Flow APIs, and carefully engineer our bulk data transfer algorithms in the system. Extensive real-world experiments are carried out to compare the three algorithms as well as those from the existing literature, in terms of routoptimality, computational delay and overhead.

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