Maintaining Control Resiliency and Flow Programmability in Software-Defined WANs During Controller Failures

Zehua Guo, Songshi Dou, Sen Liu, Wendi Feng, Wenchao Jiang, Yang Xu, Zhi Li Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Providing resilient network control is a critical concern for deploying Software-Defined Networking (SDN) into Wide-Area Networks (WANs). For performance reasons, a Software-Defined WAN is divided into multiple domains controlled by multiple controllers with a logically centralized view. Under controller failures, we need to remap the control of offline switches from failed controllers to other active controllers. Existing solutions have three limitations: (1) the least flow programmability (e.g., the ability to change paths of flows) cannot be maintained; (2) active controllers could be overloaded, interrupting their normal operations; (3) network performance could be degraded because of the increasing controller-switch communication overhead. In this paper, we propose RetroFlow+ to recover the flow programmability and achieve low communication overhead during controller failures. By intelligently configuring a set of selected offline switches working under the legacy routing mode and several active controllers releasing a few control resources, RetroFlow+ enables active controllers to use the minimum control resource to sustain the flow programmability. RetroFlow+ also smartly transfers the control of offline switches with the SDN routing mode to active controllers to minimize the communication overhead from these offline switches to the active controllers. Simulation results show that RetroFlow+ realizes low communication overhead, recovers all offline flows under one and two controller failures, and improves the flow recovery percentage up to 70% under three controller failures, compared with the state-of-the-art solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-984
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work of Zehua Guo was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 62002019 and in part by the Beijing Institute of Technology Research Fund Program for Young Scholars. The work of Sen Liu was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 62002066 and in part by the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation under Grant 2021M690705.

Publisher Copyright:
© 1993-2012 IEEE.

Keywords

  • Software-defined networking
  • control plane
  • hybrid routing
  • programmability
  • resiliency
  • wide area networks

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