Data Centers

CAFE: A Configurable PAcket Forwarding Engine for Data Center Networks

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Executive Summary

Recently, Data Center Networking (DCN) has attracted many research attentions and innovative DCN designs have been proposed. All these designs need specialized packet forwarding engines due to their special routing algorithms, which are either based on commonly used packet headers or self-defined ones. Although programmable forwarding devices are available, it is difficult to use them to prototype these DCN designs, especially when self-defined headers are introduced. This paper presents a hardware based Configurable pAcket Forwarding Engine (CAFE) to facilitate the prototyping process. Through simple APIs, CAFE can be easily configured to forward self-defined packets, modify, insert, and delete arbitrary packet header fields without re-designing the hardware.

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