The Future of SDN Controllers: Disaggregation

Spring 2021

Both public and private cloud data centers used Software Defined
Networking (SDN) to configure and manage their networks. The technology
uses software known as an SDN Controller to accepts requests from
management applications and configure network switches with forwarding
rules to implement each request. One controller, the Network Operating
System (ONOS) from the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), has emerged as
a leader. This talk, from an eminent Computer Scientist, describes
ONF’s forward-looking design for the next generation of ONOS. It
explains how functionality will be disaggregated into microservices.
the motivation behind the change. and the advantages of the disaggregated


Dr. Douglas E. Comer is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University. Formerly, he served as VP of Research at Cisco Systems. As a member of the original IAB, he participated in early work on the Internet, and is internationally recognized as an authority on TCP/IP protocols and Internet technologies.

Dr. Comer has written a series of best-selling technical books on Computer Networks, Internets, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture. His 3-volume Internetworking series is cited as an authoritative work on Internet protocols and technologies. Dr. Comer’s books have been translated into 16 languages, and are used in industry and academia in many countries.

Dr. Comer consults for industry, and has lectured to thousands of professional engineers and students around the world. For twenty years he was editor-in-chief of the journal Software – Practice and Experience. He is a Fellow of the ACM and the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

I am a senior researcher at Microsoft Research in the Mobility and Networking group. I got my PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 working with my advisors Prof. Boon Thau Loo and Prof. Roch Guerin. I completed my dual masters degree in computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in the same year. I completed my B. Sc. in Electrical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology in 2010. My work mainly focuses on automated network management and data center networking.

Thomas Vachuska is the Chief Architect for ONOS and actively contributes to the ONOS codebase. He has a solid background in software architecture of distributed systems and modular object-oriented design. He was previously at HP where he architected, designed and helped develop distributed software systems for a variety of domains.

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