DeepContext: An OpenFlow-Compatible, Host-Based SDN for Enterprise Networks


  The software-defined networking (SDN) paradigm promises greater control and understanding of enterprise network activities, particularly for management applications that need awareness of network-wide behavior. However, the current focus on switch-based SDNs raises concerns about data-plane scalability, especially when using fine-grained flows. Further, these switch-centric approaches lack visibility into end-host and application behaviors, which are valuable when making access control decisions.

  In recent work, we proposed a host-based SDN in which we installed software on the end-hosts and used a centralized network control to manage the flows. This improve scalability and provided application information for use in network policy. However, that approach was not compatible with OpenFlow and had provided only conservative estimates of possible network performance.

  In this work, we create a high performance host-based SDN that is compatible with the OpenFlow protocol. Our approach, DeepContext, provides details about the application context to the network controller, allowing enhanced decision-making. We evaluate the performance of DeepContext, comparing it to traditional networks and Open vSwitch deployments. We further characterize the completeness of the data provided by the system and the resulting benefits.

2017 IEEE 42nd Conference on Local Computer Networks
Mohamed Essedik Najd
Mohamed Essedik Najd
Ph.D. Student

Ph.D. Student, School of Computing, UConn