Recursive SDN for Carrier Networks

James McCauley, Zhi Liu, Aurojit Panda, Teemu Koponen, Barath Raghavan, Jennifer Rexford, Scott Shenker.

Control planes for global carrier networks should be programmable and scalable. Neither traditional control planes nor new SDN-based control planes meet both of these goals. Here we propose a framework for recursive routing computations that combines the best of SDN (programmability through centralized controllers) and traditional networks (scalability through hierarchy) to achieve these two desired properties. Through simulation on graphs of up to 10,000 nodes, we evaluate our design’s ability to support a variety of unicast routing and traffic engineering solutions, while incorporating a fast failure recovery mechanism based on network virtualization.

Public review by Joseph Camp

While software-defined networks have received significant attention in recent years, the networks studied often lack multiple orders of magnitude from today’s global carrier networks in terms of geographical span and nodal scale. Hence, this paper sets forth a recursive routing computation framework that balances the programmability of SDNs with the scalability of a traditional hierarchical structure. Simulations of about 10,000 nodes are used to show the viability of such an approach. Remarkably, the authors show that their recovery approach can offer “five 9s” of network repair even under a heavy link failure scenario.

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