DSF: A Distributed SDN Control Plane Framework for the East/West Interface

Basem Almadani, Abdurrahman Beg*, Ashraf Mahmoud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The ever-increasing number of network-capable devices places a massive burden on modern networks. Communication infrastructure should provide quality-of-service essentials in terms of high-bandwidth capacity, scalability, resiliency, and security. Programmable networks are viewed as the prevailing method of encountering the challenges introduced by the accelerated expansion. The ability of software-defined networking (SDN) to separate the control plane from the data plane and enable the programmability of the network creates new ways to architect the network. The centralization of control logic introduces complexities in large-scale, distributed networks such as performance bottlenecks and reliability. Distributed SDN controllers have been proposed to overcome the performance concerns. The lack of a communication standard among distributed controllers, referred to as the East/West interface, presents a challenge in the adoption of SDN in large-scale, distributed networks. In this paper, we propose Distributed SDN control plane Framework (DSF)-a framework for the East/West interface for heterogeneous, distributed SDN controllers to synchronize topologies using a standardized data-centric real-Time publish/subscribe paradigm known as the Data Distribution Service (DDS). Distributed control plane architectures are proposed using DSF: flat, hierarchical, and T-model. The DSF interface is implemented on multiple SDN control plane platforms to evaluate performance: Floodlight and Open Network Operating System (ONOS) controllers. Test cases with different configurations are designed for performance evaluation of the proposed interface in homogeneous and heterogeneous SDN control planes. In addition, a performance comparison is presented of DSF-based ONOS controllers versus Atomix-based ONOS cluster solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9349440
Pages (from-to)26735-26754
Number of pages20
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 IEEE.


  • East/West interface
  • ONOS
  • RTPS
  • SDN
  • distributed controllers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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