DevoFlow: scaling flow management for high-performance networks
OpenFlow is a great concept, but its original design imposes excessive overheads. It can simplify network and traffic management in enterprise and data center environments, because it enables flow-level control over Ethernet switching and provides global visibility of the flows in the network. However, such fine-grained control and visibility comes with costs: the switch-implementation costs of involving the switch's control-plane too often and the distributed-system costs of involving the OpenFlow controller too frequently, both on flow setups and especially for statistics-gathering. In this paper, we analyze these overheads, and show that OpenFlow's current design cannot meet the needs of high-performance networks. We design and evaluate DevoFlow, a modification of the OpenFlow model which gently breaks the coupling between control and global visibility, in a way that maintains a useful amount of visibility without imposing unnecessary costs. We evaluate DevoFlow through simulations, and find that it can load-balance data center traffic as well as fine-grained solutions, without as much overhead: DevoFlow uses 10--53 times fewer flow table entries at an average switch, and uses 10--42 times fewer control messages.