(T) I attended on Thursday a talk from Professor Nick Feamster from Georgia Tech at Stanford University to enable inter-domain routing for Software Defined Networks (SDN) at Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). The proposal is naturally called Software Defined Internet Exchange (SDX). Besides Professor Feamster, there are a lot of great minds working on that proposal such as Professor Jennifer Rexford from Princeton University and Scott Shenker from Berkeley University. This is a very interesting task. Present inter-domain routing is based on BGP (Border Gateway Protocol), the only networking protocol which algorithm is not 100% based on efficient networking principles but integrates how to deal with politics between different routing entities or AS (Asynchronous Systems). So it will be interesting to see if some of the key properties of SDN can help to better provide inter-domain routing in a much more efficient way than BGP.
Following is the abstract of the paper that I recommend to read for any networking engineer:
“BGP severely constrains how networks can deliver traffic over the Internet. Today’s networks can only forward traffic based on the destination IP prefix, by selecting among routes offered by their immediate neighbors. We believe Software Defined Networking (SDN) could revolutionize wide-area traffic delivery, by offering direct control over packet-processing rules that match on multiple header fields and perform a variety of actions. Internet exchange points (IXPs) are a compelling place to start, given their central role in interconnecting many networks and their growing importance in bringing popular content closer to end users.
To realize a Software Defined IXP (an “SDX”), we must create compelling applications, such as “application-specific peering”— where two networks peer only for (say) streaming video traffic. We also need new programming abstractions that allow participating networks to create and run these applications and a runtime that both behaves correctly when interacting with BGP and ensures that applications do not interfere with each other. Finally, we must ensure that the system scales, both in rule-table size and computational overhead. In this paper, we tackle these challenges and demonstrate the flexibility and scalability of our solutions through controlled and in-the-wild experiments. Our experiments demonstrate that our SDX implementation can implement representative policies for hundreds of participants who advertise full routing tables while achieving sub-second convergence in response to configuration changes and routing updates.”
The web site for Software Defined Internet Exchange (SDX).
Note: The picture above is “Internet map 1024 – transparent” by The Opte Project – a visualization of Internet routing paths.
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