OpenBox is a framework that makes network functions (or middleboxes) software-defined from a logically-centralized controller.
We present OpenBox — a software-defined framework for network-wide development, deployment, and management of network functions (NFs). OpenBox effectively decouples the control plane of NFs from their data plane, similarly to SDN solutions that only address the network’s forwarding plane.
OpenBox consists of three logic components. First, user-defined OpenBox applications provide NF specifications through the OpenBox north-bound API. Second, a logically-centralized OpenBox controller is able to merge logic of multiple NFs, possibly from multiple tenants, and to use a network-wide view to efficiently deploy and scale NFs across the network data plane. Finally, OpenBox instances constitute OpenBox’s data plane and are implemented either purely in software or contain specific hardware accelerators (e.g., a TCAM). In practice, different NFs carry out similar process- ing steps on the same packet, and our experiments indeed show a significant improvement of the network performance when using OpenBox. Moreover, OpenBox readily supports smart NF placement, NF scaling, and multi-tenancy through its controller.
Proceedings of the 2016 conference on ACM SIGCOMM 2016 Conference, Florianopolis, Brazil, August 22-26, 2016