Over the last years, a new networking approach is collecting the attention of the computer network research community: Software-Defined Network (SDN). Tipically, each network device (router or switch) incorporates both control plane and data plane. The latter has in charge the task of computing paths in the network, in accord with some algorithm, and populating the FIB of the device; on the other hand, the data plane, exploiting the computation of the control plane, has in charge the traffic forwarding in the network. SDN proposes a physical separation of the control plane from the data plane, moving the former in a dedicate hardware platform where running a software, called controller. That controller has in charge the computation of the paths in the network and the population of the FIB at the network devices, using a dedicate protocol that allows the communication between controller itself and network devices. Differently to the traditional approach, each network device, also called datapath in the SDN’s world, has only in charge the traffic forwarding. In this way, SDN promises to be more flexible and to give to the network administrator a full control over the network paths.
In my activity research at CompuNet Lab, I’m trying to exploit SDN’ features for simplifying the network management; in particular, one of the most deployed service by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is Virtual Private Networks (VPN). My last research work aims to provide an high level configuration language for that service that allows network administrator to reduce the configuration effort. Relying on a SDN controller, the specifications included in the VPN configuration are traslated into forwarding rules that are sent to the datapaths using the most deployed SDN protocol: Openflow.
If you want to know more, please visit our SDN page. Enjoy the network with SDN!