P4runtime Shell

An interactive Python shell for P4Runtime
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A shell for P4Runtime

Build Status

This is still a work in progress. Feedback is welcome.

p4runtime-sh is an interactive Python shell for P4Runtime based on IPython.

Using the shell

Run with Docker

We recommend that you download the Docker image (~142MB) and use it, but you can also build the image directly with:

git clone https://github.com/p4lang/p4runtime-shell
cd p4runtime-shell
docker build -t p4lang/p4runtime-sh .

Run the shell as follows:

[sudo] docker run -ti p4lang/p4runtime-sh \
  --grpc-addr <server IP>:<server port> \
  --device-id 0 --election-id 0,1

The above command will retrieve the forwarding pipeline configuration from the P4Runtime server. You can also push a forwarding pipeline configuration with the shell (you will need to mount the directory containing the P4Info and binary device config in the docker):

[sudo] docker run -ti -v /tmp/:/tmp/ p4lang/p4runtime-sh \
  --grpc-addr <server IP>:<server port> \
  --device-id 0 --election-id 0,1 --config /tmp/p4info.txt,/tmp/bmv2.json

The above command assumes that the P4Info (p4info.txt) and the binary device config (bmv2.json) are under /tmp/.

To make the process more convenient, we provide a wrapper script, which takes care of running the docker (including mounting the P4Info and binary device config files in the docker if needed):

[sudo] ./p4runtime-sh-docker --grpc-addr <server IP>:<server port> \
  --device-id 0 --election-id 0,1 \
  --config <path to p4info>,<path to binary config>

If you are a Linux user, you can follow this guide to run Docker commands without sudo. You will be able to use p4runtime-sh-docker as a non-privileged user.

If you are using the Docker image to run p4runtime-shell and you are trying to connect to a P4Runtime server running natively on the same system and listening on the localhost interface, you will not be able to connect to the server using --grpc-addr localhost:<port> or --grpc-addr<port>. Instead, you should have your P4Runtime server listen on all interfaces ( and you will need to use the IP address assigned to the Docker bridge (docker0 by default) or the IP address assigned to the local network management interface (e.g. eth0).

Run without Docker

You can also install P4Runtime shell via pip3 and run it directly.

# (optional) Set up virtual environment
python3 -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate

# Install p4runtime-shell package and run it
pip3 install p4runtime-shell
python3 -m p4runtime_sh --grpc-addr <server IP>:<server port> \
  --device-id 0 --election-id 0,1 --config <p4info.txt>,<pipeline config>

Available commands

tables, actions, action_profiles, counters, direct_counters, meters, direct_meters (named after the P4Info message fields) to query information about P4Info objects.

table_entry, action_profile_member, action_profile_group, counter_entry, direct_counter_entry, meter_entry, direct_meter_entry (named after the P4Runtime Entity fields), along with multicast_group_entry and clone_session_entry, for runtime entity programming.

packet_in and packet_out are commands for packet IO, see the usage for more information.

The Write command can be used to read a WriteRequest message from a file (for now, Protobuf text format only) and send it to a server:

Write <path to file encoding WriteRequest message in text format>

Type the command name followed by ? for information on each command, e.g. table_entry?.

Canonical representation of bytestrings

The P4Runtime specification defines a canonical representation for binary strings, which all P4Runtime servers must support. This representation can be used to format all binary strings (match fields, action parameters, ...) in P4Runtime messages exchanged between the client and the server. For legacy reasons, some P4Runtime servers do not support the canonical representation and require binary strings to be byte-padded according to the bitwidth specified in the P4Info message. While all P4Runtime-conformant servers must also accept this legacy format, it can lead to read-write asymmetry for P4Runtime entities. For example a client may insert a TableEntry using the legacy format for match fields, but when reading the same TableEntry back, the server may return a message with match field values in the canonical representation. When a client uses the canonical representation, read-write symmetry is always guaranteed.

If you are dealing with a legacy server which rejects binary strings formatted using the canonical representation (making this server non conformant to the specification), you can revert to the byte-padded format by typing the following command in the shell:

P4Runtime sh >>> global_options["canonical_bytestrings"] = False

Example usage

Here is some of what you can do when using p4runtime-sh with ONF's fabric.p4.

More examples of usage can be found in the usage/ folder.

*** Welcome to the IPython shell for P4Runtime ***
P4Runtime sh >>> tables

P4Runtime sh >>> tables["FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4"]
preamble {
  id: 33562650
  name: "FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4"
  alias: "routing_v4"
match_fields {
  id: 1
  name: "ipv4_dst"
  bitwidth: 32
  match_type: LPM
action_refs {
  id: 16777434 ("FabricIngress.forwarding.set_next_id_routing_v4")
action_refs {
  id: 16804187 ("FabricIngress.forwarding.nop_routing_v4")
action_refs {
  id: 16819938 ("nop")
  annotations: "@defaultonly"
const_default_action_id: 16819938 ("nop")
direct_resource_ids: 318811107 ("FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4_counter")
size: 1024

P4Runtime sh >>> te = table_entry["FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4"](action="set_next_id_routing_v4")

P4Runtime sh >>> te?
Signature:   te(**kwargs)
Type:        TableEntry
String form:
table_id: 33562650 ("FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4")
action {
  action {
    action_id: 16777434 ("FabricIngress.forwarding.set_next_id_routing_v4")
File:        /p4runtime-sh/p4runtime_sh/shell.py
An entry for table 'FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4'

Use <self>.info to display the P4Info entry for this table.

To set the match key, use <self>.match['<field name>'] = <expr>.
Type <self>.match? for more details.

To set the action specification <self>.action = <instance of type Action>.
To set the value of action parameters, use <self>.action['<param name>'] = <expr>.
Type <self>.action? for more details.

To set the priority, use <self>.priority = <expr>.

To mark the entry as default, use <self>.is_default = True.

Typical usage to insert a table entry:
t = table_entry['<table_name>'](action='<action_name>')
t.match['<f1>'] = ...
t.match['<fN>'] = ...
# OR t.match.set(f1=..., ..., fN=...)
t.action['<p1>'] = ...
t.action['<pM>'] = ...
# OR t.action.set(p1=..., ..., pM=...)

Typical usage to set the default entry:
t = table_entry['<table_name>'](action='<action_name>', is_default=True)
t.action['<p1>'] = ...
t.action['<pM>'] = ...
# OR t.action.set(p1=..., ..., pM=...)

For information about how to read table entries, use <self>.read?

P4Runtime sh >>> te.match?
Type:      MatchKey
File:      /p4runtime-sh/p4runtime_sh/shell.py
Match key fields for table 'FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4':

id: 1
name: "ipv4_dst"
bitwidth: 32
match_type: LPM

Set a field value with <self>['<field_name>'] = '...'
  * For exact match: <self>['<f>'] = '<value>'
  * For ternary match: <self>['<f>'] = '<value>&&&<mask>'
  * For LPM match: <self>['<f>'] = '<value>/<mask>'
  * For range match: <self>['<f>'] = '<value>..<mask>'
  * For optional match: <self>['<f>'] = '<value>'

If it's inconvenient to use the whole field name, you can use a unique suffix.

You may also use <self>.set(<f>='<value>')
        (<f> must not include a '.' in this case, but remember that you can use a unique suffix)

P4Runtime sh >>> te.match["ipv4_dst"] = ""
field_id: 1
lpm {
  value: "\n\000\000\000"
  prefix_len: 16

P4Runtime sh >>> te.action?
Type:      Action
File:      /p4runtime-sh/p4runtime_sh/shell.py
Action parameters for action 'set_next_id_routing_v4':

id: 1
name: "next_id"
bitwidth: 32

Set a param value with <self>['<param_name>'] = '<value>'
You may also use <self>.set(<param_name>='<value>')

P4Runtime sh >>> te.action["next_id"] = "10"
param_id: 1
value: "\000\000\000\n"

P4Runtime sh >>> te.insert

P4Runtime sh >>> for te in table_entry["FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4"].read():
            ...:     print(te)
table_id: 33562650 ("FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4")
match {
  field_id: 1 ("ipv4_dst")
  lpm {
    value: "\\x0a\\x00\\x00\\x00"
    prefix_len: 16
action {
  action {
    action_id: 16777434 ("FabricIngress.forwarding.set_next_id_routing_v4")
    params {
      param_id: 1 ("next_id")
      value: "\\x00\\x00\\x00\\x0a"

P4Runtime sh >>> table_entry["FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4"].read(lambda te: te.delete())

P4Runtime sh >>> table_entry["FabricIngress.forwarding.routing_v4"].read(lambda te: print(te))

P4Runtime sh >>>

Using p4runtime-shell in scripts

You can also leverage this project as a convenient P4Runtime wrapper to programmatically program switches using Python scripts:

import p4runtime_sh.shell as sh

# you can omit the config argument if the switch is already configured with the
# correct P4 dataplane.
    election_id=(0, 1), # (high, low)
    config=sh.FwdPipeConfig('config/p4info.pb.txt', 'config/device_config.bin')

# see p4runtime_sh/test.py for more examples
te = sh.TableEntry('<table_name>')(action='<action_name>')
te.match['<name>'] = '<value>'
te.action['<name>'] = '<value>'

# ...


Note that at the moment the P4Runtime client object is a global variable, which means that we only support one P4Runtime connection to a single switch.

Target-specific support

P4.org Bmv2

Just use the bmv2 JSON file generated by the compiler as the binary device config.

Barefoot Tofino

We provide a script which can be used to "pack" the Barefoot p4c compiler output (part of the Barefoot SDE) into one binary file, to be used as the binary device config.

./config_builders/tofino.py --ctx-json <path to context JSON> \
  --tofino-bin <path to tofino.bin> -p <program name> -o out.bin

You can then use out.bin when invoking p4runtime-sh-docker:

[sudo] ./p4runtime-sh-docker --grpc-addr <server IP>:<server port> \
  --device-id 0 --election-id 0,1 \
  --config <path to p4info>,out.bin

TLS Authentication

By default, the shell opens an insecure gRPC channel to the P4Runtime server. This will only work if the P4Runtime server is itself insecure and does not use TLS. Note that by default, bmv2 simple_switch_grpc uses an insecure server and no TLS configuration is required for the shell. For general information about authentication and encryption with gRPC, please refer to the documentation.

If you are connecting to a P4Runtime server which is secured with TLS, please keep reading.

Server Authentication

You will need to enable TLS in the shell by starting it with --ssl. If you are using a self-signed certificate for the P4Runtime server, you must also provide a CA certificate with --cacert.

[sudo] ./p4runtime-sh-docker --grpc-addr <server address>:9559 \
  --device-id 0 --election-id 0,1 --config /tmp/p4info.txt,/tmp/bmv2.json \
  --ssl [--cacert <path to PEM certificate>].

The <server address> needs to match the Common Name (CN) or one of the Subject Alternative Names (SAN) in the server certificate. In some cases, a matching SAN is required (the Common Name is considered deprecated).

Mutual Authentication (with client certificate)

If the P4Runtime server requires clients to present a certificate for client authentication, you will need to provide the appropriate certificate with --cert and the appropriate private key with --private-key.

[sudo] ./p4runtime-sh-docker --grpc-addr <server address>:9559 \
  --device-id 0 --election-id 0,1 --config /tmp/p4info.txt,/tmp/bmv2.json \
  --ssl \
  --cacert <path to PEM certificate for server verification> \
  --cert <path to PEM client certificate> \
  --private-key <path to PEM client private key>

Note that the appropriate CA certificate (the one used to sign the client certificate) needs to be provided to the P4Runtime server. How to do that will be dependent on the P4Runtime implementation.

Make sure that the private key file is not password-protected or gRPC client initialization will fail.

A Mutual Authentication example with bmv2 and self-signed certificates

In this example, we will use the same CA for both server and client certificates but this is of course not a requirement. Make sure you are using recent versions of PI, bmv2 and p4runtime-shell for this to work.


# Generate CA
openssl genrsa -passout pass:$password -des3 -out ca.key 4096
openssl req -passin pass:$password -new -x509 -days 365 -key ca.key -out ca.crt \
  -subj "/C=US/ST=CA/L=PaloAlto/O=Test/OU=Test/CN=Root CA"

# Generate server certificate and key
openssl genrsa -passout pass:$password -des3 -out server.key 4096
openssl req -passin pass:$password -new -key server.key -out server.csr \
  -subj "/C=US/ST=CA/L=PaloAlto/O=Test/OU=Server/CN=localhost"
openssl x509 -req -passin pass:$password \
  -extfile <(printf "subjectAltName=DNS:localhost,IP:") \
  -days 365 -in server.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -set_serial 01 -out server.crt

# Remove passphrase from the server key
openssl rsa -passin pass:$password -in server.key -out server.key

# Generate client certificate and key
openssl genrsa -passout pass:$password -des3 -out client.key 4096
openssl req -passin pass:$password -new -key client.key -out client.csr -subj "/C=US/ST=CA/L=PaloAlto/O=Test/OU=Client/CN=p4runtime-sh"
openssl x509 -passin pass:$password -req -days 365 -in client.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -set_serial 01 -out client.crt

# Remove passphrase from the client key
openssl rsa -passin pass:$password -in client.key -out client.key

To run simple_switch_grpc:

simple_switch_grpc --log-console --no-p4 --device-id 1 -- \
  --grpc-server-ssl --grpc-server-cacert ca.crt \
  --grpc-server-cert server.crt --grpc-server-key server.key \

To run the shell:

python3 -m p4runtime_sh --grpc-addr localhost:9559 --device-id 1 \
  --config meter.proto.txt,meter.json \
  --ssl --cacert ca.crt --cert client.crt --private-key client.key

Note that we do not use p4runtime-sh-docker in this example. This is because if we run the shell inside a Docker container, we will not be able to connect to the P4Runtime server using localhost at the address, and this is the name we used to issue the server certificate.

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