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Orion: Google’s Software-Defined Networking Control Plane

Amin Vahdat
Amr Sabaa
Henrik Muehe
Joon Suan Ong
Karthik Swaminathan Nagaraj
KondapaNaidu Bollineni
Lorenzo Vicisano
Mike Conley
Min Zhu
Rich Alimi
Shawn Chen
Shidong Zhang
Waqar Mohsin


We present Orion, a distributed Software-Defined Networking platform deployed globally in Google’s datacenter (Jupiter) as well as Wide Area (B4) networks. Orion was designed around a modular, micro-service architecture with a central publish-subscribe database to enable a distributed, yet tightly-coupled, software-defined network control system. Orion enables intent-based management and control, is highly scalable and amenable to global control hierarchies. Over the years, Orion has matured with continuously improving performance in convergence (up to 40x faster), throughput (handling up to 1.16 million network updates per second), system scalability (supporting 16x larger networks), and data plane availability (50x, 100x reduction in unavailable time in Jupiter and B4, respectively) while maintaining high development velocity with bi-weekly release cadence. Today, Orion robustly enables all of Google’s Software-Defined Networks defending against failure modes that are both generic to large scale production networks as well as unique to SDN systems.

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