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An algorithmic approach to OpenFlow ruleset transformation

In an ideal development cycle for an OpenFlow application, a developer designs a pipeline to suit their application's needs and installs rules to that pipeline. Their application will run on any OpenFlow switch, whether software or hardware based. A network operator deploying this application would assess their network's requirements and purchase OpenFlow hardware to meet these requirements; such as bandwidth, port density, and flow table size. In reality, this level of interoperability does not exist as many OpenFlow switches are built on a fixed-function pipeline. Fixed-function pipelines limit the matches and actions available to rules depending on the table, but in doing so make more efficient use of expensive hardware resources such as TCAM. This thesis investigates improving OpenFlow device interoperability by developing a method to rewrite existing rulesets to new complex fixed-function pipelines. Additionally, this thesis developed the tools to assess and verify the interoperability and equivalence of OpenFlow rulesets and pipelines. This thesis developed a library and tools for working with descriptions of fixed-function pipelines, specifically, the Table Type Pattern description. This library provides a method to check if an existing ruleset is compatible with a new pipeline. Additionally, this thesis designed and implemented a pragmatic approach to compare if the forwarding behaviour of two OpenFlow 1.3 rulesets is equivalent. Equivalence checking provides a tool to verify that an OpenFlow application rewritten to program a new pipeline maintains the correct forwarding behaviour. Finally, this thesis investigates the problem of algorithmically rewriting an existing OpenFlow ruleset, programmed by an existing application, to fit a different fixed-function pipeline. Solving this problem allows an OpenFlow application to be written once and run on any OpenFlow switch. This research aimed to solve this problem in a comprehensive manner that did not rely on the target pipeline supporting features such as OpenFlow metadata. This thesis developed and implemented a general method to convert an OpenFlow 1.3 to a complex constrained fixed-function.
Type of thesis
Sanger, R. (2020). An algorithmic approach to OpenFlow ruleset transformation (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13653
The University of Waikato
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