Software-defined networks (SDNs) are a new kind of network architecture in which a controller machine manages a distributed collection of switches by instructing them to install or uninstall packet-forwarding rules and report traffic statistics. The recently formed Open Networking Consortium, whose members include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, and others, hopes to use this architecture to transform the way that enterprise and data center networks are implemented. In this paper, we define a high-level, declarative language, called NetCore, for expressing packet-forwarding policies on SDNs. NetCore is expressive, compositional, and has a formal semantics. To ensure that a majority of packets are processed efficiently on switches---instead of on the controller---we present new compilation algorithms for NetCore and couple them with a new run-time system that issues rule installation commands and traffic-statistics queries to switches.
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