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Hierarchical policies are useful in many contexts in which resources are shared among multiple entities. Such policies can easily express the delegation of authority and the resolution of conflicts, which arise naturally when decision-making is decentralized. Conceptually, a hierarchical policy could be used to manage network resources, but commodity switches, which match packets using flow tables, do not realize hierarchies directly. This paper presents Hierarchical Flow Tables (HFT), a framework for specifying and realizing hierarchical policies in software defined networks. HFT policies are organized as trees, where each component of the tree can independently determine the action to take on each packet.
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