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Intro to OpenFlow using OVS

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This is a simple OpenFlow tutorial that will guide you through the writing of simple OpenFlow controllers to showcase some of the OpenFlow capabilities. We are going to write three different controllers:

  1. Write a controller that will duplicate all the traffic of the OpenFlow switch out a specific port
  2. TCP Port Forward controller. Diverge all traffic destined to host A on TCP port X to TCP port Y
  3. Proxy Controller. Write a controller that will diverge all traffic destined to host A, TCP port X to host B, TCP port Y

In this tutorial we are going to use Open vSwitch (OVS) as an OpenFlow switch connected to three hosts. OVS is a software switch running on a compute resource. The other three hosts can only communicate through the OVS switch. Although the controller for the switch can run anywhere in the Internet, we are going to run it on the same host as the OVS switch to minimize the required resources. For this tutorial we are going to use the Ryu controller, this is just an example of many controllers.


  • A GENI account, if you don't have one sign up!
  • Familiarity with how to reserve GENI resources with any of the GENI Tools (GENI Experimenter Portal, Omni, Flack). If you don't know you can take any of the tutorials:
    • Reserving resources using Flack tutorial
    • Reserving resources using Omni tutorial
  • Familiarity with logging in to GENI compute resources.
  • Basic understanding of OpenFlow. If you are going over this tutorial at home, flip through the tutorial's slides
  • Familiarity with Unix Command line
  • Familiarity with python programming language. We are going to use the Ryu controller, this is just an example of many controllers, and Ryu is written in python.


  • Open vSwitch. OVS is already be installed on your host. Installation was completed as described here.
  • Ryu controller. Ryu controller is installed in your host as part of the sliver creation.

Where to get help:

  • If you need help with GENI, email
  • If you have questions about OpenFlow, OVS, Ryu you can subscribe to openflow-discuss or any of the other mailing lists listed.


Tutorial Instructions

  • Part II: Execute
    • Step 2: Configure and Initialize Services
    • Step 3: Execute Experiment