Applying Buffer to SDN Switches: Benefits Analysis and Mechanism Design

Fuliang Li, Jiannong Cao, Xingwei Wang, Yinchu Sun, Tian Pan, Xuefeng Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Software-Defined-Networking (SDN) is progressively dominating the dynamic management for timely network trouble shooting and fine grained traffic scheduling in data center networks. One critical issue in SDN is to reduce the communication overhead between the switches and the controller. Such overhead is mainly caused by handling miss-match packets, because for each miss-match packet, a switch will send a request to the controller asking for forwarding rule. In this paper, we argue that using the intrinsic buffer in a SDN switch can also greatly reduce the communication overhead without using additional devices. If a switch buffers each miss-match packet, only a few header fields instead of the entire packet are required to be sent to the controller. Experiment results show that this can reduce 78.7% control traffic and 37% controller overhead at the cost of increasing only 5.6% switch overhead on average. If the proposed flow-granularity buffer mechanism is adopted, only one request message needs to be sent to the controller for a new flow with many arrival packets. Thus the control traffic and controller overhead can be further reduced by 64% and 35.7% respectively on average without increasing the switch overhead.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jun 2018


  • Bandwidth
  • buffer
  • Cloud computing
  • communication overhead
  • data center networks
  • Data centers
  • Delays
  • Dynamic scheduling
  • Software Defined Networking
  • switch
  • Switches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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