[P4-announce] Re: [P4-dev] Flightplan demo & FDP video

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Nik Sultana

Feb 11, 2021, 11:53:20 PM2/11/21
to p4-an...@lists.p4.org
On Thu, 11 Feb 2021, Sahil Gupta wrote:

> Hi Nik,
> I am working on an experiment where I am making several parallel
> connections between client and server machine.
> Currently to check which packet accesses our register and modified or read
> value, we largely rely on switch logs and log_msg function.
> Sometimes for a large number of parallel connections, logs become so large
> that it becomes hard to pinpoint errors in logic of the program.

Hi Sahil, thanks for reaching out. We've used a similar workflow for
debugging, as well as looking at the pcap files from some of the inputs
and outputs. The visualisation has helped us with debugging -- to get a
high-level idea of what's happening without digging into the detailed
information. The visualisation is generated automatically from the raw
information through an analysis that Heena (cc'd) implemented.

> So, my questions are:
> 1. Whether Flightplan contains GUI support to visualize packet processing
> events.

Flightplan's only concerned with program splitting, but FDP (the
visualisation/demo system) does provide an in-browser interactive
visualisation of packet-processing events.

> Like from the point it enters the port, then interacts with
> parser->ingress->egress->deparser.
> 2. If not, are you planning to create some support in future to visualise
> how different packets interact with pipeline elements like registers,
> tables, etc.
> If not, then perhaps see if your team can add a feature that records packet
> interaction with pipeline elements and produce a video/graphics that show
> how different packets interact with pipeline elements as time passes. I
> believe such support would ease testing of their P4 program logic.
> Regards
> Sahil Gupta

We don't plan to tackle that level of detail at present since we haven't
encountered the need for our work. But extensibility is one of FDP's
design goals, and if anybody else wants to take it up then we'd be happy
to support. If there's any particular feature that you feel would be
useful, then we'd be happy to share code for you to build on.

Thanks for the input,


> On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 9:35 AM Nik Sultana <nsul...@seas.upenn.edu> wrote:
> > Hi all, we're making the finishing touches on a demo for the Flightplan
> > system for P4:
> > https://flightplan.cis.upenn.edu/
> > The demo runs completely in the browser and won't require you to install
> > anything.
> > It features visualisation, animations, and graphs. It also links back to
> > P4 code
> > that you'll see executing in the visualised network.
> >
> > We're seeking feedback from the community on a mature beta. We've
> > engineered it
> > to be intuitive, and faithful to low-level details, but additional
> > feedback will
> > help us improve it further.
> >
> > Please ping me off-list if you'd like to volunteer to try out the beta.
> >
> > We're mindful that you're very busy, and to avoid taking too much of your
> > time
> > we prepared some notes to quickly familiarise you with the demo and
> > to help structure the feedback to minimise the time you need to spend on
> > it.
> >
> > Heena (cc'd) did a great job on this demo, which we're pivoting into an
> > online
> > teaching platform for networking -- you can see a video here:
> > https://flightplan.cis.upenn.edu/SIGCSE_FDP.mp4
> > She's enthusiastic about working on SDN in industry after finishing her
> > MSc -- do reach out to her if you're looking for talent.
> >
> > --
> > www.seas.upenn.edu/~nsultana
> > _______________________________________________
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