The Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology has been established as the de facto networking paradigm for complex and large-scale computer networks such as data centres or internet service providers, thanks to the flexibility and automation of many processes, the well-defined communication interfaces with data plane and the ability to program data plane devices.
The Next Generation SDN (NG-SDN) offers enhanced programmability of data plane devices rendering something which was considered impossible to achieve in the past: programming the behaviour of data plane devices offering header field level manipulation and even experimenting with new protocol stacks in real infrastructure environments. P4 is a domain-specific programming language designed for specifying the behaviour of data plane devices. In past years P4 has met wide adoption by academia and the industry.
The work entitled ‘Advancing SDN: from OpenFlow to P4, a Survey’ with authors Athanasios Liatifis, PhD candidate of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Western Macedonia, Dr Panagiotis Sarigiannidis, Assistant Professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Western Macedonia, Dr Thomas Lagkas, Associate Professor of the Department of Computer Science of the International Hellenic University and Dr Vasileios Argyriou, Professor of the Department of Networks and Digital Media, has been accepted by the ACM Computing Surveys journal. The work is a survey of the P4 language and its use cases. Specifically, in this work an in-depth view of the following topics is discussed:
- P4 langue syntax and similar technologies
- Domains of application
- Constraints and limitations of the language
- Future directions and new challenges that will arise with the wide adoption of the language
The work was developed in the context of the TERMINET H2020 project. TERMINET aims to the definition of the Next Generation Internet of Things (NG-IoT) and is coordinated by the Laboratory of Internet of Things and Application (ITHACA) of the University of Western Macedonia where the Director is professor Panagiotis Sarigiannidis. The paper is available here.