Frenetic: a network programming language. Modern networks provide a variety of interrelated services including routing, traffic monitoring, load balancing, and access control. Unfortunately, the languages used to program today’s networks lack modern features - they are usually defined at the low level of abstraction supplied by the underlying hardware and they fail to provide even rudimentary support for modular programming. As a result, network programs tend to be complicated, error-prone, and difficult to maintain. This paper presents Frenetic, a high-level language for programming distributed collections of network switches. Frenetic provides a declarative query language for classifying and aggregating network traffic as well as a functional reactive combinator library for describing high-level packet-forwarding policies. Unlike prior work in this domain, these constructs are - by design - fully compositional, which facilitates modular reasoning and enables code reuse. This important property is enabled by Frenetic’s novel run-time system which manages all of the details related to installing, uninstalling, and querying low-level packet-processing rules on physical switches. Overall, this paper makes three main contributions: (1) We analyze the state-of-the art in languages for programming networks and identify the key limitations; (2) We present a language design that addresses these limitations, using a series of examples to motivate and validate our choices; (3) We describe an implementation of the language and evaluate its performance on several benchmarks.

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  1. Kozen, Dexter: NetKAT -- a formal system for the verification of networks (2014)