Design and implementation of a Netconf based management interface for OpenFlow reference switch

OData support
Dr. Sonkoly Balázs
Department of Telecommunications and Media Informatics

Nowadays manufacturers hide their equipment’s inner operation thus making development of new protocols and algorithms more difficult. The OpenFlow specification gives a solution to this problem by enabling the programming of network switches without giving up the manufacturer’s industrial secrets. The specification separates the inner operation and the controlling logic leaving the inner parts to be vendor-specific and ensuring a programming interface for the controlling logic. This way the knowledge of inner works is not necessary while research and testing only needs to be implemented on the programmable interface.

The subject of my thesis is to expand the OpenFlow reference switch with a network management interface. Although the OpenFlow protocol already has capability of querying management information, it is not sufficient in the views of classic network management. It offers few services and only for the controlling logic. Another problem is that the information of the management plane is overlapping the information of the controlling plane. The inflexibility and the lack of configuration services and remote procedure calls make the usage of SNMP problematic. Instead I used a new network management protocol, the Netconf which was designed for configuration management. Of all the available data modeling languages I used the easy-to-use Yang language which was designed explicitly for Netconf and this makes it the most ideal choice. For development I used a Yang-based software package called the Yuma toolkit.

In my work I designed the connection between the OpenFlow switch and Netconf server component. I identified the most needed information for performance management and I implemented the transfer of the required data. I made the management information of the OpenFlow reference switch queryable through the implemented connection and made available the remote start, stop, and configuration of the switch from the Netconf server application. I validated and tested my solution through various performance tests and I demonstrated a query for the OpenFlow reference switch’s information from a potential management system.


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