High level abstractions for programming software defined networks
1 / 48

High-Level Abstractions for Programming Software Defined Networks - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

High-Level Abstractions for Programming Software Defined Networks. Jennifer Rexford Princeton University http:// www.cs.princeton.edu /~ jrex. Joint with Nate Foster, David Walker, Arjun Guha , Rob Harrison, Chris Monsanto, Joshua Reich, Mark Reitblatt , Cole Schlesinger.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about ' High-Level Abstractions for Programming Software Defined Networks' - nituna

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
High level abstractions for programming software defined networks

High-Level Abstractions for Programming Software Defined Networks

Jennifer Rexford

Princeton University


Joint with Nate Foster, David Walker, ArjunGuha, Rob Harrison, Chris Monsanto, Joshua Reich, Mark Reitblatt, Cole Schlesinger

Software defined networks1
Software Defined Networks Networks

decouple control and data planes

Software defined networks2
Software Defined Networks Networks

decouple control and data planesby providing open standard API

Logically centralized controller
(Logically) Centralized Controller Networks

Controller Platform

Protocols applications
Protocols Networks Applications

Controller Application

Controller Platform

Payoff Networks

  • Cheaper equipment

  • Faster innovation

  • Easier management

But how should we program sdns
But How Should We Program SDNs? Networks

Network-wide visibility and control

Controller Application

Controller Platform

Direct control via open interface

Today’s controller APIs are tied to the underlying hardware

Data plane packet handling
Data Plane Networks: Packet Handling

  • Simple packet-handling rules

    • Pattern: match packet header bits

    • Actions: drop, forward, modify, send to controller

    • Priority: disambiguate overlapping patterns

    • Counters: #bytes and #packets

  • src=1.2.*.*, dest=3.4.5.*  drop

  • src = *.*.*.*, dest=3.4.*.*  forward(2)

  • 3. src=, dest=*.*.*.*  send to controller

Control plane programmability
Control Plane: NetworksProgrammability

Controller Application

Controller Platform

Events from switches

Topology changes,

Traffic statistics,

Arriving packets

Commands to switches

(Un)install rules,

Query statistics,

Send packets

E g server load balancing
E.g.: Server Load Balancing Networks

  • Pre-install load-balancing policy

  • Split traffic based on source IP



Seamless mobility migration
Seamless Mobility/Migration Networks

  • See host sending traffic at new location

  • Modify rules to reroute the traffic

Network control loop
Network Control Loop Networks

Compute Policy







Reading state

Reading State Networks

SQL-Like Query Language

Reading state multiple rules
Reading State: Multiple Rules Networks

  • Traffic counters

    • Each rule counts bytes and packets

    • Controller can poll the counters

  • Multiple rules

    • E.g., Web server traffic except for source

  • Solution: predicates

    • E.g., (srcip != && (srcport == 80)

    • Run-time system translates into switch patterns

1. srcip =, srcport = 80

2. srcport = 80

Reading state unfolding rules
Reading State: Unfolding Rules Networks

  • Limited number of rules

    • Switches have limited space for rules

    • Cannot install all possible patterns

  • Must add new rules as traffic arrives

    • E.g., histogram of traffic by IP address

    • … packet arrives from source

  • Solution: dynamic unfolding

    • Programmer specifies GroupBy(srcip)

    • Run-time system dynamically adds rules

1. srcip =

2. srcip =

1. srcip =

Reading extra unexpected events
Reading: Extra Unexpected Events Networks

  • Common programming idiom

    • First packet goes to the controller

    • Controller application installs rules


Reading extra unexpected events1
Reading: Extra Unexpected Events Networks

  • More packets arrive before rules installed?

    • Multiple packets reach the controller


Reading extra unexpected events2
Reading: Extra Unexpected Events Networks

  • Solution: suppress extra events

    • Programmer specifies “Limit(1)”

    • Run-time system hides the extra events

not seen by



Frenetic sql like query language
Frenetic SQL-Like Query Language Networks

  • Get what you ask for

    • Nothing more, nothing less

  • SQL-like query language

    • Familiar abstraction

    • Returns a stream

    • Intuitive cost model

  • Minimize controller overhead

    • Filter using high-level patterns

    • Limit the # of values returned

    • Aggregate by #/size of packets

Traffic Monitoring

Select(bytes) *

Where(in:2 & srcport:80) *

GroupBy([dstmac]) *


Learning Host Location

Select(packets) *

GroupBy([srcmac]) *

SplitWhen([inport]) *


Computing policy

Computing Policy Networks

Parallel and Sequential Composition

Abstract Topology Views

Combining many networking tasks
Combining Many Networking Tasks Networks

Monolithic application

Monitor + Route + FW + LB

Controller Platform

Hard to program, test, debug, reuse, port, …

Modular controller applications
Modular Controller Applications Networks

A module for each task





Controller Platform

Easier to program, test, and debug

Greater reusability and portability

Beyond multi tenancy
Beyond Multi-Tenancy Networks

Each module controls a different portion of the traffic


Slice 2

Slice n

Slice 1

Controller Platform

Relatively easy to partition rule space, link bandwidth, and network events across modules

Modules affect the same traffic
Modules Affect the NetworksSame Traffic

Each module partially specifies the handling of the traffic





Controller Platform

How to combine modules into a complete application?

Parallel composition icfp 11 popl 12
Parallel Composition Networks[ICFP’11, POPL’12]

srcip =  count

srcip =  count

dstip = 1.2/16  fwd(1)

dstip = 3.4.5/24  fwd(2)

Route on destprefix

Monitor on source IP


Controller Platform

srcip =, dstip = 1.2/16  fwd(1), count

srcip =, dstip = 3.4.5/24  fwd(2), count

srcip =, dstip = 1.2/16  fwd(1), count

srcip =, dstip = 3.4.5/24  fwd(2), count

Example server load balancer
Example: Server Load NetworksBalancer

  • Spread client traffic over server replicas

    • Public IP address for the service

    • Split traffic based on client IP

    • Rewrite the server IP address

  • Then, route to the replica


load balancer

server replicas

Sequential composition nsdi 13
Sequential Composition Networks[NSDI’13]

srcip = 0*, dstip=  dstip=

srcip = 1*, dstip=  dstip=

dstip =  fwd(1)

dstip =  fwd(2)


Load Balancer


Controller Platform

srcip = 0*, dstip =  dstip=, fwd(1)

srcip = 1*, dstip =  dstip =, fwd(2)

Dividing the traffic over modules
Dividing the Traffic Over Modules Networks

  • Predicates

    • Specify which traffic traverses which modules

    • Based on input port and packet-header fields




dstport != 80


Load Balancer


dstport = 80

High level architecture
High-Level Architecture Networks


Composition Spec



Controller Platform

Partially specifying functionality
Partially Specifying Functionality Networks

  • A module should not specify everything

    • Leave some flexibility to other modules

    • Avoid tying the module to a specific setting

  • Example: load balancer plus routing

    • Load balancer spreads traffic over replicas

    • … without regard to the network paths


Load Balancer


Avoid custom interfaces between the modules

Abstract topology views nsdi 13
Abstract Topology Views Networks[NSDI’13]

  • Present abstract topology to the module

    • Implicitly encodes the constraints

    • Looks just like a normal network

    • Prevents the module from overstepping

Real network

Abstract view


Separation of concerns
Separation of Concerns Networks

  • Hide irrelevant details

    • Load balancer doesn’t see the internal topology or any routing changes

Routing view

Load-balancer view

High level architecture1
High-Level Architecture Networks

View Definitions


Composition Spec



Controller Platform

Supporting topology views
Supporting Topology Views Networks

  • Virtual ports

    • (V, 1): [(P1,2)]

    • (V, 2): [(P2, 5)]

  • Simple firewall policy

    • in=1 out=2

  • Virtual headers

    • Push virtual ports

    • Route on these ports

    • From (P1,2) to (P2,5)

















Writing state

Writing State Networks

Consistent Updates

Writing policy avoiding disruption
Writing Policy: Avoiding Disruption Networks

  • Invariants

  • No forwarding loops

  • No black holes

  • Access control

  • Traffic waypointing

Writing policy path for new flow
Writing Policy: Path for NetworksNew Flow

  • Rules along a path installed out of order?

    • Packets reach a switch before the rules do


Must think about all possible packet and event orderings.

Writing policy update semantics
Writing Policy: Update Semantics Networks

  • Per-packet consistency

    • Every packet is processed by

    • … policy P1 or policy P2

    • E.g., access control, no loopsor blackholes

  • Per-flow consistency

    • Sets of related packets are processed by

    • … policy P1 or policy P2,

    • E.g., server load balancer, in-order delivery, …



Writing policy policy update
Writing Policy: Policy Update Networks

  • Simple abstraction

    • Update entire configuration at once

  • Cheap verification

    • If P1 and P2 satisfy an invariant

    • Then the invariant always holds

  • Run-time system handles the rest

    • Constructing schedule of low-level updates

    • Using only OpenFlow commands!



Writing policy two phase update
Writing Policy: Two-Phase Update Networks

  • Version numbers

    • Stamp packet with a version number (e.g., VLAN tag)

  • Unobservable updates

    • Add rules for P2 in the interior

    • … matching on version # P2

  • One-touch updates

    • Add rules to stamp packets with version # P2 at the edge

  • Remove old rules

    • Wait for some time, thenremove all version # P1 rules

Writing policy optimizations
Writing Policy: Optimizations Networks

  • Avoid two-phase update

    • Naïve version touches every switch

    • Doubles rule space requirements

  • Limit scope

    • Portion of the traffic

    • Portion of the topology

  • Simple policy changes

    • Strictly adds paths

    • Strictly removes paths

Frenetic abstractions
Frenetic Abstractions Networks

Policy Composition






Related work
Related Work Networks

  • Programming languages

    • FRP: Yampa, FrTime, Flask, Nettle

    • Streaming: StreamIt, CQL, Esterel, Brooklet, GigaScope

    • Network protocols: NDLog

  • OpenFlow

    • Language: FML, SNAC, Resonance

    • Controllers: ONIX, POX, Floodlight, Nettle, FlowVisor

    • Testing: NICE, FlowChecker, OF-Rewind, OFLOPS

  • OpenFlowstandardization

    • http://www.openflow.org/

    • https://www.opennetworking.org/

Conclusion Networks

  • SDN is exciting

    • Enables innovation

    • Simplifies management

    • Rethinks networking

  • SDN is happening

    • Practice: useful APIs and good industry traction

    • Principles: start of higher-level abstractions

  • Great research opportunity

    • Practical impact on future networks

    • Placing networking on a strong foundation

Frenetic project
Frenetic Project Networks

  • Programming languages meets networking

    • Cornell: Nate Foster, Gun Sirer, ArjunGuha, Robert Soule, ShrutarshiBasu, Mark Reitblatt, Alec Story

    • Princeton: Dave Walker, Jen Rexford, Josh Reich, Rob Harrison, Chris Monsanto, Cole Schlesinger, Praveen Katta, NaydenNedev


Short overview at http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~jrex/papers/frenetic12.pdf