Google Research

Onix: a distributed control platform for large-scale production networks

  • Teemu Koponen
  • Martin Casado
  • Natasha Gude
  • Jeremy Stribling
  • Leon Poutievski
  • Min Zhu
  • Rajiv Ramanathan
  • Yuichiro Iwata NEC
  • Hiroaki Inoue NEC
  • Takayuki Hama NEC
  • Scott Shenker
Proceedings of the 9th USENIX Conference on Operating Systems Design and Implementation, USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, USA (2010), pp. 351-364


Computer networks lack a general control paradigm, as traditional networks do not provide any network-wide management abstractions. As a result, each new function (such as routing) must provide its own state distribution, element discovery, and failure recovery mechanisms. We believe this lack of a common control platform has significantly hindered the development of flexible, reliable and feature-rich network control planes.

To address this, we present Onix, a platform on top of which a network control plane can be implemented as a distributed system. Control planes written within Onix operate on a global view of the network, and use basic state distribution primitives provided by the platform. Thus Onix provides a general API for control plane implementations, while allowing them to make their own trade-offs among consistency, durability, and scalability.

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