Expanding OpenFlow Capabilities with Virtualized Reconfigurable Hardware

Naif Tarafdar

University of Toronto

Feb 2015

Title:  Expanding OpenFlow Capabilities with Virtualized Reconfigurable Hardware

Authors: Stuart Byma, Naif Tarafdar, Talia Xu, Hadi Bannazadeh, Alberto Leon-Garcia and Paul Chow


We present a novel method of using cloud-based virtualized reconfigurable hardware to enhance the functionality of OpenFlow Software- Defined Networks. OpenFlow is a capable and popular SDN implementation, but when users require new or unsupported packet-processing, software processing in the OpenFlow controller cannot provide multi-gigabit rates. Our method sees packet flows redirected through virtualized hardware with custom-designed packet-processing engines that can add new capabilities to an OpenFlow network, while retaining line-rate processing. A case study shows this can be achieved with virtually no loss in throughput and negligible latency overheads.