Virtualization of Programmable Forwarding Planes with P4VBox
Keywords:Programmable Forwarding Planes, P4, Switch Virtualization, FPGA Reconfiguration
Networking virtualization has shown to enable faster service provioning and server as a main driver of innovation, from Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Local Area Networks (VLAN). Recent investigations began assessing the feasibility of virtualization in Programmable Data Planes (PDP). Despite the progress achieved, much work remains to assess their effectiveness for programmable virtual switches. In a prior work, we introduced P4VBox, an architecture for virtualization of programmable switches written using the P4 language. P4VBox provides the execution of multiple P4 based switch instances running in parallel, with the ability of hot-swapping through full and partial reconfiguration. In this work, we build upon P4VBox to provide novel insights, substantiated by experimental evaluation on a real-world testbed, on the evaluation of the real power of switch virtualization in a NetFPGASUME board, deploying three use cases. We measured resource utilization and performance to observe the behavior of P4VBox when handling large flows. Our results demonstrate that P4VBox incurs a small overhead compared with the canonical NetFPGA reference design. Yet, it increases orders of magnitude considering the existing works.