P4: Programming protocol-independent packet processors

Pat Bosshart, Dan Daly, Glen Gibb, Martin Izzard, Nick McKeown, Jennifer L. Rexford, Cole Schlesinger, Dan Talayco, Amin Vahdat, George Varghese, David P. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

848 Scopus citations

Abstract

P4 is a high-level language for programming protocol-inde-pendent packet processors. P4 works in conjunction with SDN control protocols like OpenFlow. In its current form, OpenFlow explicitly specifies protocol headers on which it operates. This set has grown from 12 to 41 fields in a few years, increasing the complexity of the specification while still not providing the exibility to add new headers. In this paper we propose P4 as a strawman proposal for how Open-Flow should evolve in the future. We have three goals: (1) Reconfigurability in the field: Programmers should be able to change the way switches process packets once they are deployed. (2) Protocol independence: Switches should not be tied to any specific network protocols. (3) Target inde- pendence: Programmers should be able to describe packet-processing functionality independently of the specifics of the underlying hardware. As an example, we describe how to use P4 to configure a switch to add a new hierarchical label.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalComputer Communication Review
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'P4: Programming protocol-independent packet processors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this