Research Overview

Merlin is a new network management framework that allows administrators to express policies in a high-level, declarative language based on regular expressions. The compiler automatically partitions those policies into components that can be placed on a variety of devices including switches, middleboxes, and end hosts. The compiler uses a constraint-solver to determine the optimal placement strategy using paramaterizable heuristics. Sub-policies may be further constrained by network tenants, facilitating management of federated networks. Merlin provides techniques for verifying that both the partitioned program components and the delegated sub-policies conform to the global network policy. Overall, Merlin simplifies the task of network administration by providing high-level abstractions for specifying network policies and scalable infrastructure for enforcing them.


  1. Managing the Network with Merlin. Robert Soulé, Shrutarshi Basu, Robert Kleinberg, Emin Gün Sirer, and Nate Foster. HotNets ’13, Nov. 2013.

Posters & Presentations

  1. Merlin: Unified Management for Diverse Networks. Shrutarshi Basu, Robert Soulé, Robert Kleinberg, Emin Gün Sirer, and Nate Foster. SOSP ’13, Nov. 2013.


  1. Managing the Network with Merlin. Presented at Microsoft Research, Cambridge, October 2013.


Merlin logo photo credit