Elastic Switch Programming with P4All

Mary Hogan, Shir Landau Feibish, Mina Tahmasbi Arashloo, Jennifer Rexford, David Walker, Rob Harrison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The P4 language enables a range of new network applications. However, it is still far from easy to implement and optimize P4 programs for PISA hardware. Programmers must engage in a tedious "trial and error"process wherein they write their program (guessing it will fit within the hardware) and then check by compiling it. If it fails, they repeat the process. In this paper, we argue that programmers should define elastic data structures that stretch automatically to make use of available switch resources. We present P4All, an extension of P4 that supports elastic switch programming. Elastic data structures also make P4All modules reusable across different applications and hardware targets, where resource needs and constraints may vary.Our design is oriented around use of symbolic primitives (integers that may take on a range of possible values at compile time), arrays, and loops. We show how to use these primitive mechanisms to build a range of reusable libraries such as hash tables, Bloom filters, sketches, and key-value stores. We also explain the important role that elasticity plays in modular programming, and we allow programmers to declare utility functions that control the relative share of data-plane resources apportioned to each module.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHotNets 2020 - Proceedings of the 19th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450381451
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2020
Event19th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, HotNets 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 4 Nov 20206 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameHotNets 2020 - Proceedings of the 19th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks


Conference19th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, HotNets 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by DARPA under Dispersed Computing HR0011-17-C-0047 and NSF under FMiTF-1837030 and CNS-1703493.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 ACM.


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