OF.CPP: Consistent Packet Processing for OpenFlow

This paper demonstrates a new class of bugs that is likely to occur in enterprise OpenFlow deployments. In particular, step-by-step, reactive establishment of paths can cause network-wide inconsistencies or performance- and space-related inefficiencies. The cause for this behavior is inconsistent packet processing: as the packets travel through the network they do not encounter consistent state at the OpenFlow controller. To mitigate this problem, we propose to use transactional semantics at the controller to achieve consistent packet processing. We detail the challenges in achieving this goal (including the inability to directly apply database techniques), as well as a potentially promising approach. In particular, we envision the use of multi-commit transactions that could provide the necessary serialization and isolation properties without excessively reducing network performance.

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