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Emerging network services such as transcoding and encryption need application-specific handling of data streams within the network, thus requiring enormous computational capabilities on routers to process packets at link speed. Recently appeared Network Processors (NPs) are able to significantly increase the available processing capacities on a router by a chip-multi-processor architecture. Embedded within the network interface card, NPs provide several code-extensible processors with different capabilities located at various layers. However, the increase in processing capacity comes at the cost of a higher complexity to program and control various processor hierarchies provided on the router. In this paper, we introduce the model of active network nodes built of a processor hierarchy together with a component-based service model. We present the architecture of PromethOS NP which is a modular framework that manages and controls a network node with a multitude of processors in a scalable way. Specifically, we describe the mechanisms required to dynamically configure multiple processors organized in a hierarchical fashion such that they provide a new network service on behalf of applications. As a proof of concept, we have implemented a service framework for PromethOS NP. Our implementation is based on a network interface card with an embedded IBM PowerNP 4GS3 and an Intel Xeon processor, offering programmability on a three-tier hierarchy of processors.