Software-Defined Networking (SDN) has raised the boundaries of cloud computing by offering unparalleled levels of control and flexibility to system administrators over their virtualized environments. To properly embrace this new era of SDN-driven network architectures, the research community must not only consider the impact of SDN over the protocol stack, but also on its overlying networked applications. In this big ideas paper, we study the impact of SDN on the design of future message-oriented middleware, specifically publish/subscribe systems. We argue that key concepts put forth by SDN can be applied in a meaningful fashion to the next generation of pub/sub systems. First, publish/subscribe can adopt a logically centralized controller model for maintenance, monitoring, and control of the overlay network. We establish a parallel with existing work on centralized publish/subscribe routing and discuss how the logically centralized controller model can be implemented in a distributed manner. Second, we investigate the separation of the control and data plane, which is integral to SDN, which can be adopted to raise the level of decoupling in publish/subscribe. We introduce a new model of publish/subscribe which separates the traditional publisher and subscriber roles into flow regulators and producer/consumers of data. We then present use cases that benefit from this approach and study the impact of decoupling for performance.
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