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Analysis of Applicability and Usability of Programmable Networks in Modern Networks

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Software-Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization lack a unified solution for general network programmability. OpenFlow, Software-Defined Networking’s de-facto standard for network programmability, is based on rule-to-packet header matching, in which an action is executed when a rule involving the packet’s header field is satisfied. However, this model of matching is extremely limited in terms of its expressibility, scalability, and distributability. This is especially evident when satisfying the requirements of a more diverse set of applications. To fully utilize the network as a programmable platform, an architecture that supports an unconstrained, robust computational model is required. A programming platform that can support these attributes must therefore live in software. To make the network fully programable, it is necessary to look at previous Active Networks research as well as current Software Defined Networking research.

We propose that by utilizing the latest virtualization techniques, a new programmable networking architecture is possible and feasible for today’s networks. Such a programmable network architecture would be capable of handling the unique problems of executing code in the network. We call the architecture we have developed to meet these criteria, SCAN.

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