Skip to main content

Frenetic: a network programming language

Author(s): Foster, Nate; Harrison, Rob; Freedman, Michael J; Monsanto, Christopher; Rexford, Jennifer; et al

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: Modern networks provide a variety of interrelated services including routing, traffic monitoring, load balancing, and access control. Unfortunately, the languages used to program today's networks lack modern features - they are usually defined at the low level of abstraction supplied by the underlying hardware and they fail to provide even rudimentary support for modular programming. As a result, network programs tend to be complicated, error-prone, and difficult to maintain. This paper presents Frenetic, a high-level language for programming distributed collections of network switches. Frenetic provides a declarative query language for classifying and aggregating network traffic as well as a functional reactive combinator library for describing high-level packet-forwarding policies. Unlike prior work in this domain, these constructs are - by design - fully compositional, which facilitates modular reasoning and enables code reuse. This important property is enabled by Frenetic's novel run-time system which manages all of the details related to installing, uninstalling, and querying low-level packet-processing rules on physical switches. Overall, this paper makes three main contributions: (1) We analyze the state-of-the art in languages for programming networks and identify the key limitations; (2) We present a language design that addresses these limitations, using a series of examples to motivate and validate our choices; (3) We describe an implementation of the language and evaluate its performance on several benchmarks.
Publication Date: Sep-2011
Citation: Foster, Nate, Rob Harrison, Michael J. Freedman, Christopher Monsanto, Jennifer Rexford, Alec Story, and David Walker. "Frenetic: a network programming language." ACM SIGPLAN Notices 46, no. 9 (2011): pp. 279-291. doi:10.1145/2034574.2034812
DOI: 10.1145/2034574.2034812
ISSN: 0362-1340
Pages: 279 - 291
Type of Material: Conference Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: ACM SIGPLAN Notices
Version: Author's manuscript

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.