Adopting SDN Switch Buffer: Benefits Analysis and Mechanism Design
Fuliang Li, Jiannong Cao, Xingwei Wang, Yinchu Sun, Tian Pan and Xuefeng Liu
Northeastern University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Northeastern University, Northeastern University, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

One critical issue in SDN is to reduce the communication overhead between the switches and the controller. Such overhead is mainly caused by handling miss-match packets, because for each miss-match packet, a switch will send a request to the controller asking for forwarding rule. Existing approaches to address this problem generally need to deploy intermediate proxy or authority switches to hold rule copies, so as to reduce the number of requests sent to the controller. In this paper, we argue that using the intrinsic buffer in a SDN switch can also greatly reduce the communication overhead without using additional devices. If a switch buffers each miss-match packet, only a few header fields instead of the entire packet are required to be sent to the controller. Experiment results show that this can reduce 78.7% control traffic and 37% controller overhead at the cost of increasing only 5.6% switch overhead on average. If the proposed flow-granularity buffer mechanism is adopted, only one request message needs to be sent to the controller for a new flow with many arrival packets. Thus the control traffic and controller overhead can be further reduced by 64% and 35.7% respectively on average without increasing the switch overhead.