Stanford Networking Seminar

12:15PM, Thursday October 23, 2008
CISX Auditorium

Rethinking the Hardware Software Divide in Packet Forwarding

Martin Casado
Stanford University/ Nicira Networks

About the talk:
Designers of switches and routers have to choose between the speed of hardware and the flexibility of software. We propose a new interface between hardware and software that gives designers the best of both worlds: the flexibility of software-only forwarding while providing hardware speeds in the common case. We achieve this hybrid by changing the role that hardware plays: traditional hardware implementations embody the logic required for packet forwarding but in our approach all forwarding decisions are done first in software, and then the hardware merely mimics these decisions for subsequent packets to which that decision applies (e.g, all packets destined for the same prefix). While more work remains to fully validate the approach, preliminary evidence suggests that we can flexibly achieve hardware forwarding rates on commodity components.


About the speaker:
Martin Casado received his PhD from Stanford University in 2007 where his dissertation work focused on designing secure network architectures. Prior to attending Stanford, Martin held a research position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he worked on network security in the information operations assurance center (IOAC).