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Scalability Issues and Solutions for Software Defined Networks


IEEE JSAC Special Issue on Scalability Issues and Solutions for Software Defined Networks

Originally proposed in academia, Software Defined Networking (SDN) has already had a far-reaching impact on industry. Today, SDN is deployed in a wide range of contexts: e.g., in enterprise and campus networks, in datacenter networks, in wide-area networks (see e.g., Google B4) as well as in Internet Exchange Points. Despite this large spectrum of deployments, today's SDNs have in common that they are of small scale, e.g., limited to a small network or to a single administrative domain. The next major challenge thus resides in scaling SDNs up.

The scope of this special issue is research addressing the challenge of deploying SDN at scale. Large-scale SDNs may span thousands of switches and routers, for a network that may span large geographic areas and carry millions of flows. Such scenarios require highly scalable control and management planes as well as applications to handle the large amount of control traffic. In addition to the control plane and SDN applications, the data plane must also be scalable. Finally, for cost reasons and to gain confidence in the new technology, software-defined networks should be deployable incrementally.

In this special issue, we are seeking novel approaches and unpublished work related to scalability issues and solutions for SDN. In particular, we would like to focus on recent developments in protocols, application design, and architecture specification for achieving scalability in SDN.  We solicit experimental, conceptual, and theoretical contributions on the following topics related to scalability issues in Software-Defined Networks (SDNs):

Experiences with scalability issues in existing SDN deployments in various contexts such as:

  • Datacenter networks, enterprise networks, wide-area networks, IXPs, wireless networks, etc.  
  • Experimental approaches for addressing scalability issues in SDNs
  • Scalability and performance issues related to:
    • (Distributed) SDN control planes
    • Management planes for SDNs
    • Data planes and virtual switches
    • SDN applications and algorithms (e.g., traffic engineering)
  • Scalable (datacenter) network virtualization based on SDNs
  • Foundations and approaches for dynamic scale-out and scale-in of SDNs, both horizontal and vertical
  • Incremental SDN deployment
  • Scalability using SDN offloading
  • Scalable programming languages for SDNs
  • Scalable switch architectures and programmable pipelines (NetFPGA, P4, etc.)
  • Scalable security with SDN

Submission Guideline

All submissions have to be prepared according to the Guide for Authors as published in the Journal website at

Manuscript Due: February 1, 2018  
Acceptance notification: May 1, 2018
Final manuscript due: June 1,  2018
Expected Publication of the Special Issue: Third quarter 2018

Guest Editors

Oliver Hohlfeld, RWTH Aachen University, Germany,
James Kempf, Ericsson, USA,  
Martin Reisslein, Arizona State University, Tempe, US,  
Nadir Shah, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan,
Stefan Schmid, Leading Guest Editor, Aalborg University, Denmark,