Abstractions and optimisations for model-checking software-defined networks

Klimis, Vasileios (2021) Abstractions and optimisations for model-checking software-defined networks. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Software-Defined Networking introduces a new programmatic abstraction layer by shifting the distributed network functions (NFs) from silicon chips (ASICs) to a logically centralized (controller) program. And yet, controller programs are a common source of bugs that can cause performance degradation, security exploits and poor reliability in networks. Assuring that a controller program satisfies the specifications is thus most preferable, yet the size of the network and the complexity of the controller makes this a challenging effort.

This thesis presents a highly expressive, optimised SDN model, (code-named MoCS), that can be reasoned about and verified formally in an acceptable timeframe. In it, we introduce reusable abstractions that (i) come with a rich semantics, for capturing subtle real-world bugs that are hard to track down, and (ii) which are formally proved correct. In addition, MoCS deals with timeouts of flow table entries, thus supporting automatic state refresh (soft state) in the network. The optimisations are achieved by (1) contextually analysing the model for possible partial order reductions in view of the concrete control program, network topology and specification property in question, (2) pre-computing packet equivalence classes and (3) indexing packets and rules that exist in the model and bit-packing (compressing) them.

Each of these developments is demonstrated by a set of real-world controller programs that have been implemented in network topologies of varying size, and publicly released under an open-source license.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK5101 Telecommunication > TK5105.5 Computer networks
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2021 10:41
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 10:41
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/97027

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