A virtual execution platform for OpenFlow controller using NFV


The Software Defined Networking (SDN) paradigm decouples the network control functions from the data plane and offers a set of software components for flexible and controlled management of networks. SDN has promised to provide numerous benefits in terms of on-demand provisioning, automated load balancing, streamlining physical infrastructure, and flexibility in scaling network resources. In order to realize these network service offerings, there is an important need for developing an efficient, robust, and secure execution platform. As a primary contribution, we present a novel virtual execution platform for the OpenFlow controller using Network Function Virtualization (NFV). Theoretically, NFV can apply to any network function, which can simplify the managing of the heterogeneous data plane. The characteristics of our proposed architecture include pipe-lined processing of network traffic, virtualized and replicated execution of network functions, isolation between task nodes, and random mapping of traffic to task nodes. The proposed architecture has two major components: a Network Packet Schedulers (NPS) and a Task Engine (TE). The TE consists of Task Nodes (TNs) which are responsible for executing different network functions on various traffic flows and each TN is realized as a virtual machine. Upon receiving traffic from the data plane, NPS analyses the functional requirements of the traffic and different controller performance parameters. Then it allocates the traffic to appropriate TNs for executing necessary network functions. In this respect, it provides performance benefits, robustness, fine-grained modularity, and strong isolation security in the processing of traffic flows on the SDN platform. Efficacy of our proposed architecture has been demonstrated with a case study.