Merlin: A Language for Provisioning Network Resources
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Soulé, Robert; Basu, Shrutarshi; Marandi, Parisa Jalili; Pedone, Fernando; Kleinberg, Robert; Sirer, Emin Gün; Foster, Nate
This paper presents Merlin, a new framework for managing resources in software-defined networks. With Merlin, administrators express high-level policies using programs in a declarative language. The language includes logical predicates to identify sets of packets, regular expressions to encode forwarding paths, and arithmetic formulas to specify bandwidth constraints. The Merlin compiler uses a combination of advanced techniques to translate these policies into code that can be executed on network elements including a constraint solver that allocates bandwidth using parameterizable heuristics. To facilitate dynamic adaptation, Merlin provides mechanisms for delegating control of sub-policies and for verifying that modifications made to sub-policies do not violate global constraints. Experiments demonstrate the expressiveness and scalability of Merlin on real-world topologies and applications. Overall, Merlin simplifies network administration by providing high-level abstractions for specifying network policies and scalable infrastructure for enforcing them.