Managing networks with OpenFlow

Flow Control

Article from Issue 162/2014

The OpenFlow protocol and its surrounding technologies are bringing the promise of SDN to real networks – and it might not be long before you see them on your real network.

Several leading Internet companies founded the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) [1] to promote the adoption of software-defined networking through open standard development. According to the ONF, their "signature accomplishment" is fostering and maintaining the OpenFlow standard [2], which defines a protocol for communicating with software-defined network (SDN)-ready network devices (Figure 1). A striking number of proprietary and free SDN projects now implement the OpenFlow standard.

Figure 1: An OpenFlow-capable switch connected to the controller.

OpenFlow has gained some momentum since it first appeared in 2008. Between the test suite 0.8.1 from June 2008 and version 1.0 of the specification from December 2009, the developers released seven updates. Since then, eight further iterations have appeared; the current version is numbered 1.4.


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