P4 to FPGA-A Fast Approach for Generating Efficient Network Processors
This paper presents a framework for converting P4 programs to VHDL and then implementing them on Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) platforms. In this framework, a match-action-based hardware architecture is introduced with clearly designed components, which correspond to the described functionalities in the P4 programs. A pre-built template library is used for the compilation that includes optimized VHDL templates corresponding to specic clearly designed components. From the output of a standard frontend P4 compiler, the proposed compiler extracts parameters and relationships within the functions being employed, maps them to corresponding templates by calling, conguring, optimizing and instantiating them, and nally generates the appropriate FPGA code. A pre-built evaluation library is also proposed that helps the compiler to optimize the implementation during the mapping phase. A prototype of this framework is also implemented and evaluated; in this process, it is found that the generated processors use few resources and have high throughput and low latency. Compared with a state-of-the-art solution, the packet processing time is halved. In addition, the generated processors are able to operate at a line rate of nearly 100 Gigabits per second for a basic layer-3 forwarding application.
P4, VHDL, FPGA, template, network processor.