Control Plane Latency with SDN Network Hypervisors: The Cost of Virtualization

Andreas Blenk, Arsany Basta, Johannes Zerwas, Martin Reisslein, Wolfgang Kellerer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Software defined networking (SDN) network hypervisors provide the functionalities needed for virtualizing software-defined networks. Hypervisors sit logically between the multiple virtual SDN networks (vSDNs), which reside on the underlying physical SDN network infrastructure, and the corresponding tenant (vSDN) controllers. Different SDN network hypervisor architectures have mainly been explored through proof-of-concept implementations. We fundamentally advance SDN network hypervisor research by conducting a model-based analysis of SDN hypervisor architectures. Specifically, we introduce mixed integer programming formulations for four different SDN network hypervisor architectures. Our model formulations can also optimize the placement of multi-controller switches in virtualized OpenFlow-enabled SDN networks. We employ our models to quantitatively examine the optimal placement of the hypervisor instances. We compare the control plane latencies of the different SDN hypervisor architectures and quantify the cost of virtualization, i.e., the latency overhead due to virtualizing SDN networks via hypervisors. For generalization, we quantify how the hypervisor architectures behave for different network topologies. Our model formulations and the insights drawn from our evaluations inform network operators about the trade-offs of the different hypervisor architectures and help choosing an architecture according to operator demands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7506048
Pages (from-to)366-380
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Integer linear program
  • Virtual software defined network embedding
  • network hypervisor architecture
  • network virtualization
  • software defined networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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