Towards Model Checking Real-World Software-Defined Networks (version with appendix)

Vasileios Klimis, George Parisis, Bernhard Reus

In software-defined networks (SDN), a controller program is in charge of deploying diverse network functionality across a large number of switches, but this comes at a great risk: deploying buggy controller code could result in network and service disruption and security loopholes. The automatic detection of bugs or, even better, verification of their absence is thus most desirable, yet the size of the network and the complexity of the controller makes this a challenging undertaking. In this paper we propose MOCS, a highly expressive, optimised SDN model that allows capturing subtle real-world bugs, in a reasonable amount of time. This is achieved by (1) analysing the model for possible partial order reductions, (2) statically pre-computing packet equivalence classes and (3) indexing packets and rules that exist in the model. We demonstrate its superiority compared to the state of the art in terms of expressivity, by providing examples of realistic bugs that a prototype implementation of MOCS in UPPAAL caught, and performance/scalability, by running examples on various sizes of network topologies, highlighting the importance of our abstractions and optimisations.

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