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Understanding OpenFlow Barrier Messages on Devices Running Junos OS

OpenFlow-enabled devices running Juniper Networks Junos operating system (Junos OS) support the OpenFlow protocol controller-to-switch Barrier Request message (OFPT_BARRIER_REQUEST). The OpenFlow controller sends a Barrier Request message to request that the OpenFlow-enabled switch complete processing of all messages sent before the Barrier Request message before processing any messages sent after the Barrier Request message. This ensures that the virtual switch processes all message dependencies and sends all notifications for completed operations before proceeding with new requests.

When the OpenFlow virtual switch receives a Barrier Request message, it queues all subsequent incoming messages, with the exception of echo request and reply messages, until processing of all prior messages is complete. Echo request and reply messages are required to maintain connectivity to the controller.

When the switch completes an operation, it sends a reply message back to the controller. Only after the reply is sent to the controller does the switch mark the message or operation as processed. After the switch completes processing for all operations requested prior to the Barrier Request message, the switch sends a Barrier Reply (OFPT_BARRIER_REPLY) message, which includes the ID of the original request message, to the OpenFlow controller. At that point, the switch resumes processing of the queued messages.