WO2015081428A1 - Software- defined networking discovery protocol for openflow enabled switches - Google Patents

Software- defined networking discovery protocol for openflow enabled switches

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Publication number
WO2015081428A1
WO2015081428A1 PCT/CA2014/051135 CA2014051135W WO2015081428A1 WO 2015081428 A1 WO2015081428 A1 WO 2015081428A1 CA 2014051135 W CA2014051135 W CA 2014051135W WO 2015081428 A1 WO2015081428 A1 WO 2015081428A1
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WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
open flow
network
flow controller
configuration information
controllers
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/CA2014/051135
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Hamid Ould-Brahim
Original Assignee
Rockstar Consortium Us Lp
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/04Architectural aspects of network management arrangements
    • H04L41/042Arrangements involving multiple distributed management centers cooperatively managing the network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/08Configuration management of network or network elements
    • H04L41/0893Assignment of logical groupings to network elements; Policy based network management or configuration

Abstract

Embodiments of the invention implement a new protocol by which Open Flow Controllers will automatically exchange the information they need to configure themselves so that they can join an Open Flow network and function according to the specification cited above. This new protocol can be implemented by implementing extensions to the Border Gateway Protocol with Multi-Protocol extensions (MP-BGP) which is defined by IETF RFC 2858 and IETF RFC 4760.

Description

SOFTWARE-DEFINED NETWORKING DISCOVERY PROTOCOL FOR

OPENFLOW ENABLED SWITCHES

Related Applications

[0001] This application is based on, and claims benefit of US Provisional Application 61/911,244 entitled Software-Defined Networking Discovery Protocol for OpenFlow Enabled Switches filed December 3, 2013, the entire content of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

Background

[0002] Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a new framework technology that allows separation of control and data planes by virtualizing network functions in programmable commodity server-based controllers. An example of a well-known industry-defined SDN protocol is OpenFlow protocol. The OpenFlow Specification Version 1.1.0 (Wire Protocol 0x02) published February 28 2011 describes Open Flow Switches and Open Flow Controllers, and describes the use of Open Flow Protocol to enable the Open Flow Controllers to control the Open Flow-based Switches.

[0003] Currently Open Flow Controllers are manually configured by network operators with information about Open Flow Switches and other Open Flow Controllers when they are connected to the network to enable them to perform their functions according to the specification cited above. There is a need to provide a solution that allows SDN controllers, and particularly Open Flow Controllers, to discover each other automatically without requiring each Open Flow Controller to be pre-configured with information about other Open Flow Controllers, such as the network addresses associated with the other Open Flow Controllers.

Summary of Invention

[0004] Embodiments of the invention implement a new protocol by which Open Flow Controllers will automatically discover each other, and exchange the information they need to configure themselves so that they can join an Open Flow network and function according to the specification cited above. One or more Open Flow Controllers can be hosted in a device such as a server, a router, or other type of device (operating at Layer- 1 to Layer-7 in the OSI model). In the proposed approach, the controllers can be virtualized. The protocol enables Open Flow Controllers to 1. discover other Open Flow Controllers that are connected to the network; determine how to communicate with other Open Flow Controllers and Open Flow Switches of the network; and 3. determine which Open Flow Switches are controlled by each Open Flow Controller.

[0005] This new protocol can be implemented by implementing extensions to the Border Gateway Protocol with Multi -Protocol extensions (MP-BGP) which is defined by IETF RFC 2858 and IETF RFC 4760.

[0006] One aspect of the invention provides an Open Flow Controller comprising: at least one communication interface for connection of the Open Flow controller to a network; at least one processor coupled to the communication interface; and at least one storage element storing instructions for execution by the at least one processor. The instructions comprise: instructions executable to communicate configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network; instructions executable to receive configuration information of other Open Flow Controllers from the network; and instructions executable to process the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller.

[0007] Another aspect of the invention provides a method of configuring an Open Flow Controller when the Open Flow Controller joins a network. The method comprises: communicating configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network; receiving configuration information of other Open Flow Controllers from the network; and processing the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller.

[0008] Another aspect of the invention provides a network of Open Flow Controllers. Each Open Flow Controller is adapted to communicate its configuration information over the network to other Open Flow Controllers; to receive configuration information over the network from other Open Flow Controllers; and to process the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller. [0009] Yet another aspect of the invention provides a method for an Open Flow Controller connected to a network to automatically discover other Open Flow Controllers connected the network. The method comprises: communicating discovery information of the Open Flow Controller to the network; receiving discovery information of other Open Flow Controllers from the network; processing the discovery information received from other Open Flow Controllers to configure the Open Flow Controller; and establishing secure communication between the Open Flow Controller and the other Open Flow Controllers.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0010] Embodiments of the invention are described below, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the accompanying drawings, like reference numerals refer to like structures, functions or steps.

[0011] Figure 1 depicts an Open Flow Switch according to the Open Flow Switch Specification Version 1.1.0.

[0012] Figure 2 depicts a network of Open Flow Switches controlled by an Open Flow Controller.

[0013] Figure 3 depicts a network of Open Flow Switches controlled by multiple Open Flow Controllers in which embodiments of the invention would be advantageous.

[0014] Figure 4 depicts a network of Open Flow Switches controlled by multiple Open Flow Controllers, in which more than one Open Flow Controller is implemented on one server.

[0015] Figure 5 depicts fields in an MP-BGP OFC-Route message used in an embodiment of the invention.

[0016] Figure 6 depicts an Extended Community message used in an embodiment of the invention.

[0017] Figure 7 depicts a BGP Extended Community message or BGP OFC ROUTE message used in an embodiment of the invention. Detailed Description of Example Embodiments

[0018] In this application, the following acronyms have the meanings listed below:

[0019] MP(BGP) = Multi-Protocol (Border Gateway Protocol)

[0020] OFC = Open Flow Controller

[0021] OFC-ID = Open Flow Controller Identifier

[0022] OFN-ID = Open Flow Network Identifier (assigned to an OFC and the group of OFSs that it controls)

[0023] OFS = Open Flow Switch

[0024] OFS-ID = Open Flow Switch Identifier

[0025] The OpenFlow Switch Specification Version 1.1.0 (Wire Protocol 0x02) published February 28 2011 describes Open Flow Switches and Open Flow Controllers, and describes the use of Open Flow Protocol to enable the Open Flow Controllers to control the Open Flow Switches. The entire content of the OpenFlow Switch Specification Version 1.1.0 published February 28 2011, is incorporated herein by reference, and may be found at: https://www.opennetworking.org/images/ stories/downloads/sdn-resources/onf-specifications/openflow/openflow-spec-yl .1.0.pdf

[0026] Figure 1 depicts an Open Flow Switch 10 according to the Open Flow Switch Specification Version 1.1.0. The Open Flow Switch 10 comprises Secure Channel functionality 11, a Group Table 12 and a plurality of Flow Tables 13, 14 as defined in the Open Flow Switch Specification. The Open Flow Switch 10 is controlled by an Open Flow Controller 16 over a network connection 18 using the OpenFlow Protocol.

[0027] Figure 2 depicts a network of Open Flow Switches 10A, 10B, IOC, 10D controlled by an Open Flow Controller 16. The Open Flow Controller 16 is associated with a controller identifier 100. [0028] Figure 3 depicts a network of Open Flow Switches 10A, 10B, IOC, 10D, 10E, 10F, 10G, 10H. Open Flow Switches 10A, 10B, IOC, 10D are controlled by Open Flow Controller 16 over network connection 18 using OpenFlow Protocol. Open Flow Switches 10E, 10F, 10G, 10H are controlled by Open Flow Controller 26 over network connection 28 using OpenFlow Protocol. Open Flow Controller 16 is associated with network identifier 100 and Open Flow Controller 26 is associated with network identifier 200.

[0029] Currently, in networks like the network shown in Figure 3, Open Flow Controllers are manually configured by network operators with information about Open Flow Switches and other Open Flow Controllers when they are connected to the network to enable them to perform their functions according to the specification cited above.

[0030] Embodiments of the invention implement a new protocol by which Open Flow Controllers connected to a network will automatically discover each other and exchange the information they need to configure themselves over a network connection 30 so that they can join an Open Flow network and function according to the OpenFlow Switch Specification Version 1.1.0 (Wire Protocol 0x02) cited above.

[0031] As shown in Figure 4, one or more Open Flow Controllers 16, 36 can be hosted in one device such as a server, a router, or other type of device 40 (operating at Layer- 1 to Layer-7 in the OSI model). In the proposed approach, the controllers can be virtualized. The Open Flow Controllers hosted in the same device 40 are associated with different network identifiers 100, 300 and control different sets of Open Flow Switches.

[0032] The protocol enables Open Flow Controllers -

[0033] 1. to discover other Open Flow Controllers that are connected to the network;

[0034] 2. to determine how to communicate with other Open Flow Controllers and Open Flow Switches of the network; and

[0035] 3. to determine which Open Flow Switches are controlled by each Open Flow Controller. [0036] This new protocol can be implemented by implementing extensions to the Border Gateway Protocol with Multi -Protocol extensions (MP-BGP) which is defined by IETF RFC 2858 (which may be found at: https ://www.ietf .org/rfc/rfc2858.txf) and IETF RFC 4760 (which may be found at: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4760.txt). The entire content of both of IETF RFC 2858 and IETF RFC 4760 are incorporated herein by reference.

[0037] According to the Open Flow Switch Specification cited above, Open Flow Switches will be networked to form a data plane. Groups of Open Flow Switches will be controlled by respective Open Flow Controllers which will also be networked to form a control plane.

[0038] The Open Flow Controllers will typically run on servers. Each server may support one or more controllers. The controllers may have dedicated control functions such that multiple controllers may provide respective control functions for the same group of Open Flow Switches. Some of the Open Flow Controllers may provide control functions for one group of Open Flow Switches, with other Open Flow Controllers providing corresponding control functions for other groups of Open Flow Switches.

[0039] According to the proposed protocol, when an Open Flow Controller joins the network of Open Flow Controllers, it will automatically send its configuration information to other Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network using MP-BGP (UPDATE) messages according to the MP-BGP protocol.

[0040] The Open Flow Controller joining the network will be preconfigured with the configuration information that it will send to the Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network. The Open Flow Controller will broadcast its configuration information to all other Open Flow Controllers on the network.

[0041] In an implementation of the proposed new protocol in MP-BGP, a new Subsequent Address Family Identifier (SAFI) number would be allocated to indicate that Network Level Reachability Information (NLRI) fields in MP-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow. [0042] An Open Flow Controller joining the network would send Open Flow Discovery Route messages to Open Flow Controllers already connected to the network. These Open Flow Discovery Route messages would carry the SAFI number allocated to Open Flow and an identifier of the joining Open Flow Controller in LRI of the Open Flow Discover Route messages.

[0043] In the MP-BGP implementation of the proposed new protocol, the Open Flow Controller joining the network would send Extended Community messages defined in the MP-BGP standard to communicate an Open Flow Network identifier assigned to a network of Open Flow Switches controlled by the Open Flow Controller that is joining the network.

[0044] In alternative MP-BGP implementations of the proposed new protocol, the Open Flow controller joining the network would send either Open Flow Discovery Route messages or Extended Community messages to communicate connectivity information which is preconfigured into the joining Open Flow Controller. The messages would include a newly defined OFC-CONNECT type to indicate that the messages include Open Flow Controller connectivity information for the joining Open Flow Controller.

[0045] The connectivity information would include -

[0046] 1. At least one preferred connectivity mode for the joining Open Flow Controller -

[0047] a. for connection to Open Flow Switches to which it will be connected; and [0048] b. for connection to other Open Flow Controllers; and

[0049] 2. identities of Open Flow Switches to which the joining Open Flow Controller will be connected.

[0050] According to MP-BGP, each Open Flow Controller already connected to the network will reply to the Open Flow Controller joining the network with its own configuration information when it receives information from the newly joining Open Flow Controller. The Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network will use the same types of MP-BGP messages to communicate their configuration information to the joining Open Flow Controller as the joining Open Flow Controller used to communicate its configuration information to the Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network.

[0051] Once the Open Flow Controller joining the network has configuration from other Open Flow Controllers on the network, it can determine from the configuration information which Open Flow Controllers provide which control functions for which Open Flow Switches, and it can determine how to communicate with the other Open Flow Controllers on the network to perform various network control functions, including configuring connections between Open Flow Switches that are controlled by different Open Flow Controllers.

[0052] More specifically, in one MP-BGP embodiment of the proposed new protocol

[0053] 1. The joining OFC sends a MP-BGP OFC-Route message to the OFCs already connected to the network, the OFC-Route message containing -

[0054] a. the OFC-ID;

[0055] b. the capabilities of the OFC;

[0056] c. OFS-IDs of the OFSs that the OFC will control.

[0057] Figure 5 depicts fields in the MP-BGP OFC-Route message, including the OFC-ID 51 of the Open Flow Controller sending the message, an indication 52 of the capabilities of the Open Flow Controller sending the message, and a listing 53 of Open Flow Switches controlled by the Open Flow Controller sending the message.

[0058] 2. The joining OFC sends a MP-BGP Extended Community message to the OFCs already connected to the network, the Extended Community message containing the OFN-ID associated with the OFC. [0059] Figure 6 depicts the MP-BGP Extended Community message 60 including the OFN-ID associated with the Open Flow Controller sending the message.

[0060] 3. The joining OFC sends either another MP-BGP Extended Community message or another MP-BGP OFC-Route message to OFCs already connected to the network, the message containing the OFN-CO NECT information.

[0061] Figure 7 depicts the BGP Extended Community message or BGP OFC ROUTE message 70 including the connectivity information for the Open Flow Controller sending the message.

[0062] 4. In response to receiving the messages sent by the joining OFC listed in 1, 2, 3 above, each OFC already connected to the network sends corresponding messages containing its configuration information to the OFC joining the network.

[0063] In summary, a new protocol is proposed, the new protocol enabling Open Flow Controllers joining a network to automatically exchange configuration information with Open Flow Controllers already connected to the network so that the Open Flow Controllers can automatically configure themselves using the exchanged information to communicate with one another and with Open Flow Switches of the network.

[0064] This new protocol can be implemented by implementing extensions to the Border Gateway Protocol with Multi -Protocol extensions (MP-BGP) which is defined by IETF RFC 2858 and IETF RFC 4760.

[0065] The embodiment(s) of the invention described above is(are) intended to be exemplary only. The scope of the invention is therefore intended to be limited solely by the scope of the appended claims.

Claims

We Claim:
1. A method of configuring an Open Flow Controller when the Open Flow Controller joins a network, the method comprising: communicating configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network; receiving configuration information of other Open Flow Controllers from the network; and processing the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller.
2. The method of claim 1, comprising preconfiguring the Open Flow Controller with configuration information, wherein communicating the configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network comprises communicating the configuration information automatically responsive to the Open Flow Controller joining the network.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein communicating the configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network comprises broadcasting the configuration information to Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein broadcasting the configuration information comprises broadcasting the configuration information using the Multi -Protocol - Border Gateway Protocol (MG-BGP) messages.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein broadcasting the configuration information using MG-BGP messages comprises indicating in headers of the MG-BGP messages that the MG-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein indicating in headers of MP-BGP messages that the MG-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow comprises indicating that Network Level Reachability Information (NLRI) fields in the MP-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow by including a particular Subsequent Address Family Identifier (SAFI) number in the headers of the MP-BGP messages.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the MP-BGP messages comprise Open Flow Discover Route messages having NRLI fields that identify the Open Flow Controller which is joining the network.
8. The method of claim 6, wherein the MP-BGP messages comprise Extended Community of Interest messages which communicate an Open Flow Network identifier assigned to a network of Open Flow Switches controlled by the Open Flow Controller that is joining the network.
9. The method of claim 4, wherein the MP-BGP messages include an OFC- CONNECT type to indicate that the messages include Open Flow Controller connectivity information for the Open Flow Controller which is joining the network.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the connectivity information indicates at least one preferred connectivity mode for connection of the joining Open Flow Controller to Open Flow Switches.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein the connectivity information indicates at least one preferred connectivity mode for connection of the joining Open Flow Controller to other Open Flow Controllers.
12. The method of claim 9, wherein the connectivity information identifies Open Flow Switches to which the joining Open Flow Controller will be connected.
13. The method of claim 1, wherein processing the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller comprises processing the configuration information received from the other Open Flow Controllers to determine which Open Flow Controllers provide which control functions for which Open Flow Switches.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein processing the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller comprises determining how to communicate with other Open Flow Controllers on the network to perform network control functions.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the network control functions comprise configuration of connections between Open Flow Switches controlled by different Open Flow Controllers.
16. An Open Flow Controller comprising: at least one communication interface for connection of the Open Flow controller to a network; at least one processor coupled to the communication interface; and at least one storage element storing instructions for execution by the at least one processor, the instructions comprising: instructions executable to communicate configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network; instructions executable to receive configuration information of other Open Flow Controllers from the network; and instructions executable to process the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller.
17. The Open Flow Controller of claim 16, wherein the Open Flow Controller is preconfigured with configuration information and is configured to execute the instructions executable to communicate the configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network automatically responsive to the Open Flow Controller joining the network.
18. The Open Flow Controller of claim 16, wherein the instructions executable to communicate configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network comprise instructions executable to broadcast the configuration information to Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network.
19. The Open Flow Controller of claim 18, wherein the instructions executable to broadcast the configuration information comprise instructions executable to broadcast the configuration information using the Multi-Protocol - Border Gateway Protocol (MG-BGP).
20. The Open Flow Controller of claim 19, wherein the instructions executable to broadcast the configuration information using MG-BGP comprise instructions executable to indicate in headers of MG-BGP messages that the MG-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow.
21. The Open Flow Controller of claim 20, wherein the instructions executable to indicate in headers of MP-BGP messages that the MG-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow comprise instructions executable to indicate that Network Level Reachability Information (NLRI) fields in the MP-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow by including a particular Subsequent Address Family Identifier (SAFI) number in the headers of the MP- BGP messages.
22. A network of Open Flow Controllers, each Open Flow Controller configured: to communicate its configuration information over the network to other Open Flow Controllers; to receive configuration information over the network from other Open Flow Controllers; and to process the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller.
23. The network of claim 22, wherein each Open Flow Controller is preconfigured with configuration information and is configured to communicate the configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network automatically responsive to the Open Flow Controller joining the network.
24. The network of claim 22, wherein each Open Flow Controller is configured to communicate configuration information of the Open Flow Controller to the network by broadcasting the configuration information to Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network.
25. The network of claim 24, wherein each Open Flow Controller is configured to broadcast the configuration information by broadcasting the configuration information using the Multi -Protocol - Border Gateway Protocol (MG-BGP).
26. The network of claim 25, wherein each Open Flow Controller is configured to broadcast the configuration information using MG-BGP by indicating in headers of the MG-BGP messages that the MG-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow.
27. The network of claim 26, wherein each Open Flow Controller is configured to indicate in headers of MP-BGP messages that the MG-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow by indicating in the MG-BGP messages that Network Level Reachability Information (NLPJ) fields in the MP-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow by including a particular Subsequent Address Family Identifier (SAFI) number in the headers of the MP- BGP messages.
28. The network of claim 22, wherein each Open Flow Controller is configured to process the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller by processing the configuration information received from the other Open Flow Controllers to determine which Open Flow Controllers provide which control functions for which Open Flow Switches.
The network of claim 22, wherein each Open Flow Controller is configured to process the configuration information received from other Open Flow Controllers to further configure the Open Flow Controller by determining how to communicate with other Open Flow Controllers on the network to perform network control functions.
30. The network of claim 29, wherein the network control functions comprise configuration of connections between Open Flow Switches controlled by different Open Flow Controllers.
31. A method for an Open Flow Controller connected to a network to automatically discover other Open Flow Controllers connected the network, the method comprising: communicating discovery information of the Open Flow Controller to the network; receiving discovery information of other Open Flow Controllers from the network; processing the discovery information received from other Open Flow Controllers to configure the Open Flow Controller; and establishing secure communication between the Open Flow Controller and the other Open Flow Controllers.
32. The method of claim 31, wherein the Open Flow Controller is preconfigured with discovery information, wherein communicating the discovery information of the Open Flow Controller to the network comprises communicating the discovery information automatically responsive to the Open Flow Controller joining the network.
33. The method of claim 31, wherein communicating the discovery information of the Open Flow Controller to the network comprises broadcasting the discovery information to Open Flow Controllers that are already connected to the network. The method of claim 33, wherein broadcasting the discovery information comprises broadcasting the discovery information using the Multi -Protocol - Border Gateway Protocol (MG-BGP) messages.
The method of claim 34, wherein broadcasting the discovery information using MG-BGP messages comprises indicating in headers of the MG-BGP messages that the MG-BGP messages carry information related to Open Flow.
PCT/CA2014/051135 2013-12-03 2014-11-27 Software- defined networking discovery protocol for openflow enabled switches WO2015081428A1 (en)

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Citations (2)

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WO2013140803A1 (en) * 2012-03-23 2013-09-26 Nec Corporation System and method for communication
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Patent Citations (2)

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US20130268686A1 (en) * 2012-03-14 2013-10-10 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. Method, switch, server and system for sending connection establishment request
WO2013140803A1 (en) * 2012-03-23 2013-09-26 Nec Corporation System and method for communication

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