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A Consistency Based Research: P4 Versus OpenFlow and the Future of Software Defined Networks

Authors:

Abstract

Software-Defined Networks (SDN) technology has the ability to edit a network's ability to function, making its uses valuable for on-demand applications for today's consumers and businesses. SDN can enhance a network in multiple ways, since it unlocks critical intelligence, help deliver newly designed services and analytic specifically for the needed party. The functionality of giving the network administrators a full overview of the entire network architecture is essential for future network debugging and/or develop a valuable and secure modal for the best quality of experience (QoE) requested. We aim to discuss the ability of P4-language its uses on SDN and why it should be adapted and used in programming network modals and architectures. Re-configurability, protocol independence, and target independence are the main aims of this language making it a highly desired competitor to OpenFlow. P4 shows a different value proposition, nonetheless OpenFlow agents may be written on top of P4, thus great P4 implementations may force OpenFlow into being obsolete. Broadcom SDK along with OpenNSL will also be affected by the new rise of P4, since P4 may write a much better API on top of Broadcom SDK. P4 use cases that will be researched include; (i) P4Runtime which is being highly used in the world of SDN controllers and white box solutions. (ii) In-band Network Telemetry which is a framework designed to allow collection and reporting of network state by the data plane. (iii) Behavioral Model, where a P4 software switch allows compiling and running switch simulations to develop new features (virtually). All the following will be researched, tested and constructed in-order to develop a useful P4 plug and play test-bed. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
A Consistency Based Research: P4 Versus OpenFlow and the
Future of Software Defined Networks
Ahmed Osama Basil1
1Faculty of Art, Science and Technology
University of Northampton
May 8, 2019
Abstract
Software-Defined Networks (SDN) technology has the ability to edit a network’s ability to function,
making its uses valuable for on-demand applications for today’s consumers and businesses. SDN
can enhance a network in multiple ways, since it unlocks critical intelligence, help deliver newly
designed services and analytic specifically for the needed party. The functionality of giving the
network administrators a full overview of the entire network architecture is essential for future network
debugging and/or develop a valuable and secure modal for the best quality of experience (QoE)
requested. We aim to discuss the ability of P4-language its uses on SDN and why it should be
adapted and used in programming network modals and architectures. Re-configurability, protocol
independence, and target independence are the main aims of this language making it a highly desired
competitor to OpenFlow. P4 shows a different value proposition, nonetheless OpenFlow agents may
be written on top of P4, thus great P4 implementations may force OpenFlow into being obsolete.
Broadcom SDK along with OpenNSL will also be affected by the new rise of P4, since P4 may
write a much better API on top of Broadcom SDK. P4 use cases that will be researched include; (i)
P4Runtime which is being highly used in the world of SDN controllers and white box solutions. (ii) In-
band Network Telemetry which is a framework designed to allow collection and reporting of network
state by the data plane. (iii) Behavioral Model, where a P4 software switch allows compiling and
running switch simulations to develop new features (virtually). All the following will be researched,
tested and constructed in-order to develop a useful P4 plug and play test-bed. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
Keywords— SDN, QoS, QoE, fairness, Openflow, P4, Broadcom SDK, OpenNSL
References
[1] A. O. Basil, M. Mu, and M. Opoku Agyeman, “A Multi-Modal framework for future emergency systems,” in
IEEE Smart World Congress 2019 (SWC 2019), (Leicester, United Kingdom (Great Britain)), Aug. 2019.
[2] A. O. Basil and M. Mu, “Fairness survey: A software defined network based research,”
[3] C. Flaviojr, “Can p4 save software-defined networking?,” Oct. 2017.
[4] A. Yazdinejad, A. Bohlooli, and K. Jamshidi, “P4 to sdnet: Automatic generation of an efficient protocol-
independent packet parser on reconfigurable hardware,” in 2018 8th International Conference on Computer
and Knowledge Engineering (ICCKE), pp. 159–164, Oct 2018.
[5] M. Pritsak, “Is p4 programming the future of sdn?,” Mar 2019.
[6] P. Li and Y. Luo, “P4gpu: Accelerate packet processing of a p4 program with a cpu-gpu heterogeneous
architecture,” in 2016 ACM/IEEE Symposium on Architectures for Networking and Communications Systems
(ANCS), pp. 125–126, March 2016.
... OpenFlow [1], started simple, with the abstraction of a single table of rules that could match packets on a dozen header fields. As SDN deployment in large data centers became more common, required features grew in number and complexity, calling for the release of updated versions of OpenFlow [2], which now supports the management of more than 50 header features [3]. This trend appears to have reached a limit. ...
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Nowadays network managers look for ways to change the design and management of networks that can make decisions on the control plane. Future switches should be able to support the new features and flexibility required for parsing and processing packets. One of the critical components of switches is the packet parser that processes the headers of the packets to be able to decide on the incoming packets. Here the data plane, and particularly packet parser in OpenFlow switches, which should have the flexibility and programmability to support the new requirements and OpenFlow multiple versions, are focused. Designed here is an architecture that unlike the static network equipments, it has the flexibility and programmability in the data plane network, especially the SDN network, and supports the parsing and processing of specific packets. To describe this architecture, a high-level P4 language is used to implement it on a reconfigurable hardware (i.e., FPGA). After automatic generating the protocol-independent Packet parser architecture on the Virtex-7, it is compiled to firmware by Xilinx SDNet, and ultimately an FPGA Platform is implemented. It has fewer consumption resources and it is more efficient in terms of throughput and processing speed in comparison with other architectures.
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The P4 language is an emerging domain-specific language for describing the data plane processing at a network device. P4 has been mapped to a wide range of forwarding devices including NPUs, programmable NICs and FPGAs, except for General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU) which is a salient parallel architecture for processing network flows. In this work, we design a heterogeneous architecture with both CPU and GPU as a P4 programming target, and present a toolset to map a P4 program onto the proposed architecture. Our evaluation reveals that a P4 program can render promising performance on such architecture by parallelizing its "match+action" engine with the GPGPU accelerator. The experiment results show that the auto-configured GPU kernels achieve scalable lookup and classification speeds: the prototype system can reach up to 580 Gbps for IP lookups (64-byte packets) and 60 million classifications per second for 4k firewall rules, respectively.
Fairness survey: A software defined network based research
  • A O Basil
  • M Mu
A. O. Basil and M. Mu, "Fairness survey: A software defined network based research,"
Can p4 save software-defined networking?
  • C Flaviojr
C. Flaviojr, "Can p4 save software-defined networking?," Oct. 2017.
Is p4 programming the future of sdn?
  • M Pritsak
M. Pritsak, "Is p4 programming the future of sdn?," Mar 2019.