List of OpenFlow Controllers for SDN - Tech | 5G, SDN/NFV & Edge Compute


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

List of OpenFlow Controllers for SDN

OpenFlow SDN Controller is a critical component in the SDN architecture. Though OpenFlow protocol has lost its shine in the last few years, there are still a number of SDN controllers that support OpenFlow. This article captures the list of open source and commercial SDN controllers that support OpenFlow protocol. If you are interested to know the OpenFlow controllers in the market for SDN deployments, you can find them below:

(Also read: Is SDN really dead?)

Also read: 

Software Defined Networking Basics / 101
SDN Architecture - Protocols & Components
OpenFlow Test Suites & Tools

OpenDaylight is THE most popular SDN controller in the market, which supports OpenFlow protocol. It supports at least a dozen southbound APIs including protocols such as OVSDB, NetConf and PCEP to configure / manage network devices. There are multiple vendors such as Lumina Networks, Ericsson and Cisco selling OpenDaylight based SDN controller solutions. You can learn more about OpenDaylight at

NOX (Network Operating Systems) is the original OpenFlow controller, and facilitates development of fast C++ controllers on Linux. It is an open source implementation and can be downloaded from

POX is a Python based open source implementation for on Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. It is used primarily for research and education and can be downloaded from

Beacon is a fast, cross-platform, modular, Java-based OpenFlow controller. Beacon is an open source implementation and claims to have been used in several research projects, networking classes, and trial deployments. Beacon seems to be currently powering a 100-vswitch, 20-physical switch experimental data center and running for months without downtime. It can be downloaded from

Big Network Controller is the network application platform for the Open Software Defined Network (SDN), providing unified network intelligence, enterprise-class scalability and high availability, and a platform to deploy a wide range of network applications, including data center network virtualization. Big Network Controller uses industry standard protocols, like OpenFlow, to create a common abstraction and universal data model for the underlying network data plane elements.  Visit for more information. (Product EOLd)

Maestro is a scalable control platform written in Java which supports OpenFlow switches. It is distributed as an open source software. Maestro provides interfaces for implementing modular network control applications. Maestro is a platform for achieving automatic and programmatic network control functions. It can be downloaded from

Floodlight controller is an enterprise-class, Apache-licensed, Java-based OpenFlow Controller. Floodlight supports a broad range of virtual and physical OpenFlow switches. It can manage multiple islands of OpenFlow switches, a common deployment scenario. It forms the core of Big Switch's OpenFlow Controller. Yes! Big Switch open sourced Floodlight. It can be downloaded from (No activity for a long time in the community)

Ryu is an Operating System for Software Defined Networks. Ryu aims to provide a logically centralized control and well defined API that make it easy for operators to create new network management and control applications. It is developed and maintained by NTT labs. It can be downloaded from

Faucet is a compact open source OpenFlow controller, which enables network operators to run their networks the same way they do server clusters. Faucet moves network control functions (like routing protocols, neighbor discovery, and switching algorithms) to vendor independent server-based software, where those functions are easy to manage, test, and extend with modern systems management best practices and tools. Faucet controls OpenFlow 1.3 protocol. 

The HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller is the center-piece of the SDN architecture. The controller offers a dynamic control plane with the intelligence to automate and program the network to enable network agility. It has full support for the OpenFlow protocol and  has Open APIs to enable third party SDN Application Development. More details at

NEC ProgrammableFlow Controller is designed to work with low cost Open Compute Project (OCP) inspired network equipment. It supports a packet processing pipeline capability to ensure an efficient, high performance and flexible network architecture. It supports up to network 10,000 switches. More details at

Lumina SDN Controller is one of the popular OpenDaylight based SDN controllers (spun-off by Brocade). It creates a common control plane over multiple domains so that services can be deployed using a single set of applications. The same service can be instantiated over a routed domain, a switched domain and multiple vendors simultaneously.  Network Convergence is a key differentiator for the Lumina SDN Controller. More about Lumina SDN Controller at 

The IBM Unified Controller provides an OpenFlow-based network fabric with centralized control of network flows and unlimited virtual machine (VM) mobility—implemented in enterprise-class software. The controller software automatically and continuously discovers the OpenFlow network topology and maps physical and virtual traffic flows across any OpenFlow-based data center network environment. IBM isn't still an established player in the industry for SDN controllers. More details at

Ericsson Cloud SDN Controller provides seamless intra & inter-datacenter connectivity for virtual, physical and container based workloads. It uniquely combines an industrialized OpenDaylight controller with advanced routing capabilities. It is delivered as part of our system-verified NFVI (NFV Infrastructure) solution and provides network automation services to NFV workloads. More details at

Cisco Open SDN Controller is a commercial distribution of OpenDaylight that delivers business agility through automation of standards-based network infrastructure. It abstracts away the complexity of managing heterogeneous network environments to improve service delivery and reduce operating costs. More details at

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