SDX: A Software Defined Internet Exchange

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Gupta, Arpit
Shahbaz, Muhammad
Vanbever, Laurent
Kim, Hyojoon
Clark, Russ
Feamster, Nick
Rexford, Jennifer
Shenker, Scott
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Deploying software-defined networking (SDN) at Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) offers new hope for solving long-standing problems in interdomain routing. SDN allows direct expression of more flexible policies, and IXPs are central rendezvous points that are in the midst of a rebirth, making them a natural place to start. We present the design of an SDN exchange point (SDX) that enables much more expressive policies than conventional hop-by-hop, destination- based forwarding. ISPs can apply many diverse actions on packets based on multiple header fields, and distant networks can exercise “remote control” over packet handling. This flexibility enables applications such as inbound traffic engineering, redirection of traffic to middleboxes, wide-area server load balancing, and blocking of unwanted traffic. Supporting these applications requires effective ways to combine the policies of multiple ISPs. Our SDX controller provides each ISP the abstraction of its own virtual switch and sequentially composes the policies of different ISPs into a single set of rules in the physical switches. Preliminary experiments on our operational SDX demonstrate the potential for changing interdomain routing from the inside out.
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