Presenting the Powerful Properties of Packet Processing with P4

Aaron A. Glenn

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The next movement in network programmability is the data plane itself. Beyond APIs to the control plane, a domain specific language for data plane programming is emerging as a powerful tool in reasoning about packet networks.

Programming network devices has stopped being a responsibility exclusive to the vendors selling them. Today, with control plane standards deployed and evolving, the next evolutionary step in software defining networks is in the data plane. A domain specific language to represent data plane packet processing called P4 has unlocked a wide range of powerful abilities.

This talk will give a brief introduction to what P4 is; the motivations behind it's development; and how P4 is being used in networks today. Then, a discussion on how network operators and designers of nearly any scale can wield the power of the language to model and reason about their networks -- even with their existing (fixed function) networks right now.