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Gavel: A Fast and Easy-to-Use Plain Data Representation for Software-defined Networks

TitleGavel: A Fast and Easy-to-Use Plain Data Representation for Software-defined Networks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBarakat, O.. L., D. Koll, and X. Fu
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Date Published03/2019
KeywordsController, Database, Engines, Graph, Libraries, Programming, Relational databases, Software-defined Networks., Task analysis, Writing

In Software-defined Networking (SDN), high-level abstractions typically offer a useful means to avoids writing network applications and policies on lower levels. However, abstractions are typically developed for a specific use case, which in turn results in an abundance of existing abstractions for different networking tasks. As a consequence orchestrating these abstractions to implement a common network policy becomes an arduous task. To address this challenge, plain data representations of the network and its control infrastructure have been proposed recently, which offer programmable ad-hoc abstractions to administrators. However, these frameworks suffer from quite complex programming requirements and impractical performance in terms of latency, as they are based on relational database engines. In this work, we address these shortcomings by introducing Gavel, an SDN controller that at its heart facilitates a plain data representation based on a graph database. By exploiting the native graph support of the database engine, Gavel significantly eases application and policy writing. Additionally, we show by experimental evaluation of several typical applications on multiple different topologies that Gavel offers significant performance improvements over state-of-the-art solutions.