Transparent, live migration of a software-defined network

Soudeh Ghorbani, Cole Schlesinger, Matthew Monaco, Eric Keller, Matthew Caesar, Jennifer Rexford, David Walker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Increasingly, datacenters are virtualized and software-defined. Live virtual machine (VM) migration is becoming an indispensable management tool in such environments. However, VMs often have a tight coupling with the underlying network. Hence, cloud providers are beginning to offer tenants more control over their virtual networks. Seamless migration of all (or part) of a virtual network greatly simplifies management tasks like planned maintenance, optimizing resource usage, and cloud bursting. Our LIME architecture efficiently migrates an ensemble, a collection of virtual machines and virtual switches, for any arbitrary controller and end-host applications. To minimize performance disruptions, during the migration, LIME temporarily runs all or part of a virtual switch on multiple physical switches. Running a virtual switch on multiple physical switches must be done carefully to avoid compromising application correctness. To that end, LIME merges events, combines traffic statistics, and preserves consistency among multiple physical switches even across changes to the packet-handling rules. Using a formal model, we prove that migration under LIME is transparent to applications, i.e., any execution of the controller and end-host applications during migration is a completely valid execution that could have taken place in a migration-free setting. Experiments with our prototype, built on the Floodlight controller, show that ensemble migration can be an efficient tool for network management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing, SOCC 2014
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)1595930361, 9781450332521
StatePublished - Nov 3 2014
Event5th ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing, SOCC 2014 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Nov 3 2014Nov 5 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 5th ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing, SOCC 2014


Other5th ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing, SOCC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Consistency
  • Correctness
  • Migration
  • Software-defined networks
  • Transparency
  • Virtualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


Dive into the research topics of 'Transparent, live migration of a software-defined network'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this