Programming slick network functions

Bilal Anwer, Theophilus Benson, Nick Feamster, Dave Levin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

62 Scopus citations


Current approaches to in-network traffic processing involve the deployment of monolithic middleboxes in virtual machines. These approaches make it difficult to reuse functionality across different packet processing elements and also do not use available in-network processing resources efficiently. We present Slick, a framework for programming network functions that allows a programmer to write a single high-level control program that specifies custom packet processing on precise subsets of traffic. The Slick runtime coordinates the placement of fine-grained packet processing elements (e.g., firewalls, load balancers) and steers traffic through sequences of these element instances. A Slick program merely dictates what processing should be performed on specific traffic flows, without requiring the programmer to specify where in the network specific processing elements are instantiated or how traffic should be routed through them. In contrast to previous work, Slick handles both the placement of fine-grained elements and the steering of traffic through specific sequences of element instances, allowing for more efficient use of network resources than solutions that solve each problem in isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSymposium on Software Defined Networking (SDN) Research, SOSR 2015
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334518
StatePublished - Jun 17 2015
Event1st ACM SIGCOMM Symposium on Software Defined Networking Research, SOSR 2015 - Santa Clara, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2015Jun 18 2015

Publication series

NameSymposium on Software Defined Networking (SDN) Research, SOSR 2015


Other1st ACM SIGCOMM Symposium on Software Defined Networking Research, SOSR 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Clara

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


  • Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
  • Software-Defined Networking (SDN)


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