Orion: Google's Software-Defined Networking Control Plane


Andrew D. Ferguson, Steve Gribble, Chi-Yao Hong, Charles Killian, Waqar Mohsin, Henrik Muehe, Joon Ong, Leon Poutievski, Arjun Singh, Lorenzo Vicisano, Richard Alimi, Shawn Shuoshuo Chen, Mike Conley, Subhasree Mandal, Karthik Nagaraj, Kondapa Naidu Bollineni, Amr Sabaa, Shidong Zhang, Min Zhu, and Amin Vahdat, Google


We present Orion, a distributed Software-Defined Networking platform deployed globally in Google's datacenter (Jupiter) and Wide Area (B4) networks. Orion was designed around a modular, micro-service architecture with a central publish-subscribe database to enable a distributed, yet tightly-coupled, software-defined network control system. Orion enables intent-based management and control, is highly scalable and amenable to global control hierarchies.

Over the years, Orion has matured with continuously improving performance in convergence (up to 40x faster), throughput (handling up to 1.16 million network updates per second), system scalability (supporting 16x larger networks), and data plane availability (50x, 100x reduction in unavailable time in Jupiter and B4, respectively) while maintaining high development velocity with bi-weekly release cadence. Today, Orion enables Google's Software-Defined Networks, defending against failure modes that are both generic to large scale production networks as well as unique to SDN systems.

NSDI '21 Open Access Sponsored by NetApp

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@inproceedings {265061,
author = {Andrew D. Ferguson and Steve Gribble and Chi-Yao Hong and Charles Killian and Waqar Mohsin and Henrik Muehe and Joon Ong and Leon Poutievski and Arjun Singh and Lorenzo Vicisano and Richard Alimi and Shawn Shuoshuo Chen and Mike Conley and Subhasree Mandal and Karthik Nagaraj and Kondapa Naidu Bollineni and Amr Sabaa and Shidong Zhang and Min Zhu and Amin Vahdat},
title = {Orion: Google{\textquoteright}s Software-Defined Networking Control Plane},
booktitle = {18th {USENIX} Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation ({NSDI} 21)},
year = {2021},
isbn = {978-1-939133-21-2},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/nsdi21/presentation/ferguson},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = apr,