Stateful programmable data planes

Speaker : Salvatore Pontarelli
Universita' di Roma Tor Vergata
Date: 05/04/2017
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: LINCS Seminars room


Abstract: In Software Defined Networking (SDN) the control plane is physically separate from the forwarding plane. Control software programs the forwarding plane (e.g., switches and routers) using an open interface, such as OpenFlow. SDN envisions smart centralized controllers governing the forwarding behaviour of dumb low-cost switches.Even if this approach presents several benefits (scalability, vendor independence, easiness of deployment etc.) it is often limited by the continuous intervention of the logically centralized controller (de facto complex distributed systems) to take decisions just based on local states (versus network-wide knowledge), which could be in principle directly handled at wire speed inside the device itself. Stateful dataplane processing is recently emerged as a enabling technology to supersede this limitation and to deploy virtual network functions at wire-speed.This talk will present Open Packet Processor (OPP), a stateful programmable dataplane abstraction that extend the OpenFlow match-action model adding the concept of a per-flow content that is used to represent the history of each flow travelling into the switch. OPP extracts a (configurable) flow-key from the incoming packet and update the flow content (and the associated forwarding decision) using some OpenFlow-like rules that define an Extended Finite State Machine (EFSM). The EFSM reads the current state, the value of the flow-registers and the content of the packet and decide the next state, update the flow-register values and set the action to apply to the packet.The talk will show an high-speed hardware implementation of a OPP based switch realized on an FPGA board with 4×10 GbE ports and some use cases that leverage the features of the OPP abstraction. A comparison with the most relevant work in the field of stateful dataplane processing will be presented and compared with the OPP abstraction. Finally the talk will discuss the OPP limitations and extensions.
Biography: Salvatore Pontarelli received the master Degree at university of Bologna in 2000. In 2003 takes its PhD degree in microelectronics and telecommunications from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Currently, he works as Researcher at CNIT (Italian Consortium of telecommunication), in the research unit of University of Rome Tor Vergata. In the past Dott. Pontarelli has worked with the National Research Council (CNR), the Department of Electronic Engineering of University of Rome Tor Vergata, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the University of Bristol.He also works as consultant for various Italian and International companies for design of hardware for high speed networking. He participates in several national and EU funded research program (ESA, FP7 and H2020). In 2011 he was recipient of a CISCO research Award for the study on the combined use of Bloom filters and Ternary CAM. His main research activities are hash based structures for networking applications, use of FPGA for high speed network monitoring, hardware design of software defined network devices, stateful programmable data planes.