Data Plane Programmability: Enabling the Vision of Programmable Networks
In the past 25 years, networking community has brought a series of developments—Active Networking in the mid-1990s, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) during the period 2007-10, Data Plane Programmability during the period 2013-15, etc.— to create fully programmable networks. A fully programmable network allows network operators to quickly deploy new services into their network and enables networking researchers to easily experiment their research ideas in real networks. Such flexibility accelerates the pace of innovation in networks, benefiting everyone who is dependent on the Internet. In this paper, we provide a study of three major networking paradigms: Traditional Networking, Software-Defined Networking, and Software-Defined Networking with a Programmable Data Plane. We highlight major pitfalls that led to a transition from one networking paradigm to the next one. Finally, we show how programmable data planes enable us to achieve our vision of creating fully programmable networks.