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Scalable Flow-Based Networking with DIFANE

Report ID:
May 2010
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Ideally, enterprise administrators could specify fine-grain policies that drive how the underlying switches forward, drop, and measure traffic. However, existing techniques for flow-based networking rely too heavily on centralized controller software that installs rules reactively, based on the first packet of each flow. In this paper, we propose DIFANE, a scalable and efficient solution that keeps all traffic in the data plane by selectively directing packets through intermediate switches that store the necessary rules. DIFANE relegates the controller to the simpler task of partitioning these rules over the switches. DIFANE can be readily implemented with commodity switch hardware, since all data-plane functions can be expressed in terms of wildcard rules that perform simple actions on matching packets. Experiments with our prototype on Click-based OpenFlow switches show that DIFANE scales to larger networks with richer policies.

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