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CoVisor: A Compositional Hypervisor for Software-Defined Networks

Author(s): Jin, Xin; Gossels, Jennifer; Rexford, Jennifer; Walker, David

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Abstract: We present CoVisor, a new kind of network hypervisor that enables, in a single network, the deployment of multiple control applications written in different programming languages and operating on different controller platforms. Unlike past hypervisors, which focused on slicing the network into disjoint parts for separate control by separate entities, CoVisor allows multiple controllers to cooperate on managing the same shared traffic. Consequently, network administrators can use CoVisor to assemble a collection of independently-developed “best of breed” applications—a firewall, a load balancer, a gateway, a router, a traffic monitor—and can apply those applications in combination, or separately, to the desired traffic. CoVisor also abstracts concrete topologies, providing custom virtual topologies in their place, and allows administrators to specify access controls that regulate the packets a given controller may see, modify, monitor, or reroute. The central technical contribution of the work is a new set of efficient algorithms for composing controller policies, for compiling virtual networks into concrete OpenFlow rules, and for efficiently processing controller rule updates. We have built a CoVisor prototype, and shown that it is several orders of magnitude faster than a naive implementation.
Publication Date: 2015
Citation: Jin, Xin, Jennifer Gossels, Jennifer Rexford, and David Walker. "CoVisor: A Compositional Hypervisor for Software-Defined Networks." In 12th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (2015): pp. 87-101.
Pages: 87 - 101
Type of Material: Conference Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: 12th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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