Big Switch Open Sources OpenFlow Controller

Showing its commitment to the open source community around Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Big Switch Networks unveiled Floodlight, an Apache-licensed open-source OpenFlow Controller.

Colleen Miller

January 19, 2012

2 Min Read
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Floodlight, an Apache-licensed open-source OpenFlow Controller, was released recently by networking startup Big Switch Networks , as part of its commitment to the open source community around Software-Defined Networking (SDN).

Headquartered in Palo Alto, Big Switch Networks was founded in 2010 to bring virtualization and cloud innovation to enterprise networks using OpenFlow-based SDN. The OpenFlow standard was developed at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, and allows users to manage network equipment using software that can run on servers that communicate with switches, rather than directly on the switch or router.

Since SDN has taken off commercially, giving back to the academic and research community by open-sourcing the code was “only natural,” said Big Switch Networks CEO Guido Appenzeller.

“The first instance of OpenFlow open-source code was developed by the Stanford Research Lab -- where several members of our company including myself worked - in collaboration with other universities nationwide to demonstrate its feasibility," he said. Further, the move to open source will encourage a rich SDN ecosystem and stimulate innovation, Appenzeller explained.

Centralized Network Management Through SDN

OpenFlow Controllers are central components of SDN because they capture control information from OpenFlow-enabled switches to centrally manage networks. Floodlight will support the needs of academics, provide a powerful platform to commercial developers to build SDN network services and assist network admins who want to utilize OpenFlow, according to Big Switch.

Big Switch Networks said it is committed to maintaining and enhancing Floodlight, which will be a component of its commercial controller and the foundation for additional features and network applications. It is is offered under the Apache 2.0 license, which is the license used by other fast-growing projects such as Hadoop and OpenStack.

Floodlight, which originated from the Beacon controller created by Big Switch Networks advisor and Stanford PhD candidate David Erickson, was designed and built in Java to offer an easily extensible, developer friendly platform for SDN. The source code is available on the OpenFlow Hub website.

OpenFlow Hub Community

OpenFlow Hub, created and maintained by Big Switch Networks, is a community of developers leading and/or contributing to open source OpenFlow projects. OpenFlow Hub is open to all developers and welcomes any open source project promoting OpenFlow or SDN regardless of its license or commercial strategy.

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