Hydra: Leveraging Functional Slicing for Efficient Distributed SDN Controllers

Yiyang Chang, Ashkan Rezaei, Balajee Vamanan, Jahangir Hasan, Sanjay Rao, T. N. Vijaykumar

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.

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