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Hardware-Accelerated Network Control Planes

Costa Molero, E; Vissicchio, S; Vanbever, L; (2018) Hardware-Accelerated Network Control Planes. In: HotNets '18 Proceedings of the 17th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks. (pp. pp. 120-126). ACM: New York, NY, USA. Green open access

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One design principle of modern network architecture seems to be set in stone: a software-based control plane drives a hardware- or software-based data plane. We argue that it is time to revisit this principle after the advent of programmable switch ASICs which can run complex logic at line rate. We explore the possibility and benefits of accelerating the control plane by offloading some of its tasks directly to the network hardware. We show that programmable data planes are indeed powerful enough to run key control plane tasks including: failure detection and notification, connectivity retrieval, and even policy-based routing protocols. We implement in P4 a prototype of such a "hardware-accelerated" control plane, and illustrate its benefits in a case study. Despite such benefits, we acknowledge that offloading tasks to hardware is not a silver bullet. We discuss its tradeoffs and limitations, and outline future research directions towards hardware-software co-design of network control planes.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Hardware-Accelerated Network Control Planes
Event: HotNets-XVII, November 15–16, 2018, Redmond, WA, USA
Dates: 15 November 2018 - 16 November 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1-4503-6120-0
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/3286062.3286080
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1145/3286062.3286080
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060666
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