Open Software-Defined Networks

Principal Investigator(s): 
Scott Shenker

Today's routers and switches are both complicated and closed. The forwarding path on these boxes involve sophisticated ASICs, and the large base of installed software is typically closed and proprietary. Thus, functionality can only evolve on hardware design timescales, and only through the actions of the vendors. At ICSI, in collaboration with our colleagues at Stanford University, we are pursuing a radically different approach which we call Open Software-Defined Networks. In OSDN, the forwarding hardware is extremely simple, but has an interface that allows it to be controlled by software. In turn, the software is open-source and designed to manage the network as a whole, not just each individual box. This results in lower capital and operational costs and more sophisticated management functionality. At ICSI, we are exploring how to use this approach to manage home networks, enterprise networks, datacenter networks, and wide-area networks.

Funding provided by NSF grants 1015459, NeTS: Small: The Design and Use of a Network Operating System, and 1040838, FIA: Collaborative Research: Architecting for Innovation.