Building an SDN Lab in the Cloud

Network labs have always been effective tools to evaluate new technologies, gain practical insights in network behavior and learn.  In this series of short videos I will walk through the steps of creating an SDN lab with Open Daylight controller and Mininet.

Linux server is the ideal platform for an SDN controller and there is a lot of choice to build a free or low cost lab.  If you have a powerful laptop or desktop with gobs and gobs of RAM, the best option is to download an OVA or Zip file from OpenDaylight site or SDNHub, which is a great learning resource on the web.  It is all prepackaged and after creating a VM you can go straight to working with the controller.

However, a vast majority of engineers use laptops that do not have additional compute resources to run a hefty a VM, as recommended for Open Daylight.  Therefore, I will provision a Linux server in the Amazon’s cloud (AWS) and have included videos for Windows users to access the server.  I will then install ODP on the newly provisioned Linux server.


About Furrukh Fahim
A software engineer and a carpenter interested in making useful things, be it a software solution or a pergola.

5 Responses to Building an SDN Lab in the Cloud

  1. rahul says:

    hey can u tell me how to integerate cloud computing with SDN

  2. Paul says:

    Hi Furrukh,

    How to get openDaylight to do routing? Can you point me to some references?


    • Hi Paul, your question is a frequent one and worthy of a blog post or two. The current momentum in ODL universe is to utilize legacy devices for routing. The controller mainly centralizes the CLI. Basically, the user is configuring the CLI from the controller instead of the router console and letting the forwarding/routing devices in forwarding plane make routing decisions. This makes sense in current environment because of the large deployed base of devices that have routing logic.

      However, as SDN matures routing logic/algorithms will shift to applications that sit in the layer above the controller and communicate with the controller using the NBI. ONOS, another open source controller, introduced the concept of ‘Intent framework’ in its first release. Out-of-the-box ONOS team packaged some basic routing algorithms that are used to route flows across the network. For example, the user simply indicates the ‘intent’ to connect host-1 to host-N and the controller figures out how to route the traffic across the network, then sends OF commands to implement the route. ONF and ODL have also adopted the intent-based approach, which indicates that is the future.

  3. Faisal Khan says:

    Wow, what a great tutorial…. i hope you also write one on how to run an NFV lab on AWS. I googled on setting up KVM on AWS, but apparently it is either not possible or difficult.

    • Hi Faisal, glad you found the tutorial useful. Regarding KVM on AWS, I am pretty sure will not work. KVM is a type-1 hypervisor (i.e. runs directly on x86) and AWS instances are running on another hypervisor (Zen), which will not allow starting KVM. If you need nested VMs you may try Ravello. Otherwise, if the VNF can be installed on a Linux distribution then just instantiate an EC2 instance and install the VNF.

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