Evaluation of Underlying Switching Mechanism for Future Networks with P4 and SDN
Software Defined Networking (SDN) was introduced with a philosophy of decoupling the control plane from the data plane which facilitates network management while ensuring programmability in order to improve performance and monitoring. OpenFlow which enabled SDN was first introduced to match twelve header fields whilst at current it matches forty one which is expected to grow exponentially. Therefore future networks must have the ability to flexibly parse packets through a common interface. Programming Protocol independent Packet Processing (P4) was introduced to achieve the aforementioned by programming the underlying switch, providing instructions and utilizing APIs to populate the forwarding tables. A P4 programmed switch will forward packets through a parser into multiple stages of match+action tables to find the destination node which is considered the most efficient mechanism for routing. This paper takes into the account the latest platform developed for service providers, Open Networking Operating System (ONOS) to deploy two environments configured in the aforementioned technologies in order to test their performance. Four case studies were drawn which were simulated in Mininet which incorporated SDN + P4 switches. A significant increase of performances were recorded when compared with the the performance of cases using SDN only.