Dear VNS User,

Today is the day we're told the world ends! I'm writing to you about a more modest end-point --- after 10 years of operation we are going to retire VNS in early 2013. I'm writing to you because you are on our list of VNS users or developers.

Don't despair: We will continue to support the two most popular VNS assignments ("sr" and "pwospf") on Mininet instead. Mininet is a much better and more stable platform, with a lot more users. To the student, there is NO CHANGE -- i.e. the student code and the assignment are the same with Mininet as they were for VNS. We used "sr" on Mininet for our CS144 class at Stanford this past quarter and it worked great. 

Mininet Background: Mininet is a network emulator that runs in Linux. It is used by hundreds of people around the world for networking research, teaching and product development. Mininet is open-source and has a growing community of developers. The great thing about Mininet compared to VNS is that you and your students can install and run Mininet as a VM on your own machine, or run it in Amazon EC2 (which is how we run our CS144 class). We use Mininet for research and teaching, and I strongly encourage you to check it out. Mininet is easy to install (instructions here). We are offering three assignments, and we'll be adding more over time. 

If you are using the "sr" (Simple Router) assignment: You should start using "sr" in Mininet right now. We no longer support "sr" in VNS. 150 Stanford students did the Mininet "sr" assignment in Fall 2012. 

If you are using "pwospf" (Pee-wee OSPF Routing Protocol) assignment: We will release "pwospf" in Mininet by the end of January 2013. We will continue to support "pwospf" in VNS for new projects starting before January 31, 2013. From February 1, 2013 all new "pwospf" projects should use Mininet instead. 

If you are using other assignments in VNS: If you created your own assignment, let us know and let's talk about porting it to Mininet instead. If you are using another assignment we created, let us know and we can discuss our roadmap. 

Here is the link for more information about the assignments on Mininet. 

Thank you for your patience and continued support. VNS started as a class project in 1998 and went through three versions, with the last version funded by NSF. If you squint at VNS, you'll see some of the heritage of what we now call network virtualization -- made all the more interesting because MS student Martin Casado was one of its key developers.  

We are very excited about Mininet as a teaching tool and we hope it will grow to be a much larger community teaching resource than VNS. 

VNS is dead, long live Mininet! 

- TY Huang, David Underhill, the Mininet team (Nikhil Handigol, Brandon Heller, Vimal Kumar, Bob Lantz), and Nick  
Dec. 21th, 2012