Exploring Functional Slicing in the Design of Distributed SDN Controllers

  • Yiyang Chang
  • Ashkan Rezaei
  • Balajee VamananEmail author
  • Jahangir Hasan
  • Sanjay Rao
  • T. N. Vijaykumar
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10340)


The conventional approach to scaling Software-Defined Networking (SDN) controllers today is to partition switches based on network topology, with each partition being controlled by a single physical controller, running all SDN applications. However, topological partitioning is limited by the fact that (i) performance of latency-sensitive (e.g., monitoring) SDN applications associated with a given partition may be impacted by co-located compute-intensive (e.g., route computation) applications; (ii) simultaneously achieving low convergence time and response times might be challenging; and (iii) communication between instances of an application across partitions may increase latencies. To tackle these issues, in this paper, we explore functional slicing, a complementary approach to scaling, where multiple SDN applications belonging to the same topological partition may be placed in physically distinct servers. We present Hydra, a framework for distributed SDN controllers based on functional slicing. Hydra chooses partitions based on convergence time as the primary metric, but places application instances across partitions in a manner that keeps response times low while considering communication between applications of a partition, and instances of an application across partitions. Evaluations using the Floodlight controller show the importance and effectiveness of Hydra in simultaneously keeping convergence times on failures small, while sustaining higher throughput per partition and ensuring responsiveness to latency sensitive applications.


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
    Al-Fares, M., Loukissas, A., Vahdat, A.: A scalable, commodity data center network architecture. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2008, pp. 63–74 (2008)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chang, Y., Rezaei, A., Vamanan, B., Hasan, J., Rao, S., Vijaykumar, T.: Hydra: leveraging functional slicing for efficient distributed SDN controllers. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Communication Systems and Networks (COMSNETS), pp. 1–8, January 2017Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Curtis, A.R., Mogul, J.C., Tourrilhes, J., Yalagandula, P., Sharma, P., Banerjee, S.: Devoflow: Scaling flow management for high-performance networks. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM, pp. 254–265 (2011)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Demetrescu, C., Eppstein, D., Galil, Z., Italiano, G.F.: Dynamic graph algorithms. In: Algorithms and Theory of Computation Handbook, p. 9 (2010)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dixit, A.A., Hao, F., Mukherjee, S., Lakshman, T., Kompella, R.: ElastiCon: an elastic distributed SDN controller. In: Proceedings of the ANCS, pp. 17–28 (2014)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Greenberg, A., Hjalmtysson, G., Maltz, D.A., Myers, A., Rexford, J., Xie, G., Yan, H., Zhan, J., Zhang, H.: A clean slate 4D approach to network control and management. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 35(5), 41–54 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hassas Yeganeh, S., Ganjali, Y.: Kandoo: a framework for efficient and scalable offloading of control applications. In: Proceedings of the HotSDN, pp. 19–24 (2012)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Heller, B., Sherwood, R., McKeown, N.: The controller placement problem. In: Proceedings of HotSDN, pp. 7–12 (2012)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hong, C.Y., Kandula, S., Mahajan, R., Zhang, M., Gill, V., Nanduri, M., Wattenhofer, R.: Achieving high utilization with software-driven WAN. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM, pp. 15–26 (2013)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jain, S., Kumar, A., Mandal, S., Ong, J., Poutievski, L., Singh, A., Venkata, S., Wanderer, J., Zhou, J., Zhu, M., Zolla, J., Hölzle, U., Stuart, S., Vahdat, A.: B4: experience with a globally-deployed software defined WAN. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM, pp. 3–14. ACM (2013)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kabbani, A., Vamanan, B., Hasan, J., Duchene, F.: FlowBender: flow-level adaptive routing for improved latency and throughput in datacenter networks. In: Proceedings of CoNEXT, pp. 149–160 (2014)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Karypis, G., Kumar, V.: A fast and high quality multilevel scheme for partitioning irregular graphs. SIAM J. Sci. Comput. 20(1), 359–392 (1998)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Karypis, G., Kumar, V.: Multilevel algorithms for multi-constraint graph partitioning. In: Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Conference on Supercomputing, SC 1998, 7–13 November 1998, Orlando, FL, USA, p. 28 (1998)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Koponen, T., Casado, M., Gude, N., Stribling, J., Poutievski, L., Zhu, M., Ramanathan, R., Iwata, Y., Inoue, H., Hama, T., Shenker, S.: Onix: a distributed control platform for large-scale production networks. In: Proceedings of OSDI, pp. 1–6 (2010)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Krishnamurthy, A., Chandrabose, S.P., Gember-Jacobson, A.: Pratyaastha: an efficient elastic distributed SDN control plane. In: Proceedings of the HotSDN, NY, USA, pp. 133–138. ACM, New York (2014)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lamport, L.: Paxos made simple. ACM Sigact News 32(4), 18–25 (2001)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    McKeown, N., Anderson, T., Balakrishnan, H., Parulkar, G., Peterson, L., Rexford, J., Shenker, S., Turner, J.: OpenFlow: enabling innovation in campus networks. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 38(2), 69–74 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tam, A.W., Xi, K., Chao, H.: Use of devolved controllers in data center networks. In: INFOCOM WKSHPS, pp. 596–601, April 2011Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tootoonchian, A., Ganjali, Y.: HyperFlow: a distributed control plane for OpenFlow. In: Proceedings of INM/WREN, p. 3 (2010)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Vamanan, B., Hasan, J., Vijaykumar, T.: Deadline-aware datacenter TCP (D2TCP). Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2012, pp. 115–126 (2012)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Yeganeh, S.H., Ganjali, Y.: Beehive: towards a simple abstraction for scalable software-defined networking. In: Proceedings of HotNets-XIII, pp. 13:1–13:7 (2014)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yiyang Chang
    • 1
  • Ashkan Rezaei
    • 2
  • Balajee Vamanan
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jahangir Hasan
    • 3
  • Sanjay Rao
    • 1
  • T. N. Vijaykumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Google Inc.Menlo ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations