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Last update: 2014-05-01

End: 2015-01


An Open-Source OpenFlow Controller Implementing the North-Bound Interface

OpenFlow is a cornerstone and the de-facto standard protocol for software-defined networking (SDN). The API for manipulating the network state is currently being standardised by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) as NBI (which stands for 'North-Bound Interface'). As an emerging standard NBI has significant potential to create the ecosystem for network architectures.

OpenFlow is a simple protocol that allows switching hardware to be unbound from routing decisions. The intelligence is moved to a central controller that is responsible for multiple switches in a network. Through OpenFlow, the controller is dynamically notified of flow creations (as with NetFlow and IPFIX), and can respond with actions that are to be taken by switching hardware in the data path: route the flow elsewhere, change fields, etc. This dynamic altering of network state is what makes OpenFlow, and SDN in general, very attractive in a number of fields.

The Open Networking Foundation is a consortium that has been created to take over the specification of the OpenFlow protocol as well as to extend it. One of the extensions being developed in the ONF is the north-bound interface (NBI). The NBI is situated between the control layer and the application layer. In a nutshell, the NBI is the API through which network operator applications manipulate the network state. The controller is in the middle of it all: it speaks with those applications through the NBI, and it speaks with the switching hardware through OpenFlow.

The project will implementing a reference quality open-source OpenFlow controller speaking NBI, that can easily be deployed on open-source operating systems such as Linux and BSD.

Viagenie (Canada)