Published Paper: "A Distributed and Robust SDN Control Plane for Transactional Network Updates"

Abstract: Software-defined networking (SDN) is a novel paradigm that outsources the control of programmable network switches to a set of software controllers. The most fundamental task of these controllers is the correct implementation of the network policy, i.e., the intended network behavior. In essence, such a policy specifies the rules by which packets must be forwarded across the network. This paper studies a distributed SDN control plane that enables concurrent and robust policy implementation. We introduce a formal model describing the interaction between the data plane and a distributed control plane (consisting of a collection of faultprone controllers). Then we formulate the problem of consistent composition of concurrent network policy updates (termed the CPC Problem). To anticipate scenarios in which some conflicting policy updates must be rejected, we enable the composition via a natural transactional interface with all-or-nothing semantics. We show that the ability of an f-resilient distributed control plane to process concurrent policy updates depends on the tag complexity, i.e., the number of policy labels (a.k.a. tags) available to the controllers, and describe a CPC protocol with optimal tag complexity f + 2.


M. Canini, P. Kuznetsov, D. Levin, S. Schmid.
In Proceedings of INFOCOM'15, Apr 2015.

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