Runtime Programmable Switches


Jiarong Xing and Kuo-Feng Hsu, Rice University; Matty Kadosh, Alan Lo, and Yonatan Piasetzky, Nvidia; Arvind Krishnamurthy, University of Washington; Ang Chen, Rice University


Programming the network to add, remove, and modify functions has been a longstanding goal in our community. Unfortunately, in today’s programmable networks, the velocity of change is restricted by a practical yet fundamental barrier: reprogramming network devices is an intrusive change, requiring management operations such as draining and rerouting traffic from the target node, re-imaging the data plane, and redirecting traffic back to its original route. This project investigates design techniques to make future networks runtime programmable. FlexCore enables partial reconfiguration of switch data planes at runtime with minimum resource overheads, without service disruption, while processing packets with consistency guarantees. It involves design considerations in switch architectures, partial reconfiguration primitives, reconfiguration algorithms, as well as consistency guarantees. Our evaluation results demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of runtime programmable switches.

NSDI '22 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

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@inproceedings {276980,
author = {Jiarong Xing and Kuo-Feng Hsu and Matty Kadosh and Alan Lo and Yonatan Piasetzky and Arvind Krishnamurthy and Ang Chen},
title = {Runtime Programmable Switches},
booktitle = {19th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 22)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-27-4},
address = {Renton, WA},
pages = {651--665},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = apr

Presentation Video