Palette: Distributing Tables in Software-Defined Networks

David Hay, Issac Keslassy, Yossi Kanizo
Conferences & Workshops
Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)


In software-defined networks (SDNs), the network controller first formulates abstract network-wide policies, and then implements them in the forwarding tables of network switches. However, fast SDN tables often cannot scale beyond a few hundred entries. This is because they typically include wildcards, and therefore are implemented using either expensive and power-hungry TCAMs, or complex and slow data structures.

This paper presents the Palette distribution framework for decomposing large SDN tables into small ones and then distributing them across the network, while preserving the overall SDN policy semantics. Palette helps balance the sizes of the tables across the network, as well as reduce the total number of entries by sharing resources among different connections. It copes with two NP-hard optimization problems: Decomposing a large SDN table into equivalent subtables, and distributing the subtables such that each connection traverses each type of subtable at least once. To implement the Palette distribution framework, we introduce graph-theoretical formulations and algorithms, and show that they achieve close-to-optimal results in practice.

  title={Palette: Distributing tables in software-defined networks},
  author={Kanizo, Yossi and Hay, David and Keslassy, Isaac},
  booktitle={2013 Proceedings IEEE INFOCOM},