10 important components of SDN controllers

SDN controller features include modularity, APIs, clustering and GUIs. Read more in this chapter excerpt from 'SDN-Supported Edge-Cloud Interplay for Next Generation Internet of Things.'

The concept of software-defined networking would fall apart without SDN controllers. SDN relies on the controller to enable a centralized platform for management, configuration and programmability.

A compelling benefit of SDN controllers is automation. Instead of manually configuring individual devices, network engineers can configure and distribute policies via the SDN controller. The controllers also support flexible path routing, reliability and visibility.

But some challenges with controllers include performance evaluation and controller selection, according to the book SDN-Supported Edge-Cloud Interplay for Next Generation Internet of Things from Taylor & Francis Group. In the book, Kshira Sagar Sahoo, Arun Solanki, Sambit Kumar Mishra, Bibhudatta Sahoo and Anand Nayyar compiled discussions on the convergence of edge computing, SDN and IoT.

Common SDN controllers include Floodlight, Nox, OpenDaylight, Open Network Operating System, Pox, Ryu and Trema. So, how do network teams choose from the various options? Some network engineers might prefer to select an SDN controller based on performance factors, such as throughput, latency and CPU usage, according to the editors. Others might look at the major features of a controller.

Here are 10 common features of SDN controllers:

  1. OpenFlow -- a southbound API that directs flow requests forwarded by switches to a controller and vice versa.
  2. GUI -- receives and shows data about forwarding devices, configuration and application deployment.
  3. Northbound REST API -- enables communication between applications and the controller.
  4. Clustering -- improves scalability and controller performance.
  5. Quantum API -- calls from controller to cloud services.
  6. Synchronization -- responsible for how controllers store and respond to network data.
  7. Productivity -- affects the ease with which developers can create applications and use the controller's programming language.
  8. Partnership support -- the level of third-party support.
  9. Platform support -- the compatibility of SDN controllers with various OSes.
  10. Modularity -- the ability to create instructions and subroutines.

But the selection process might not be as clear as comparing performance versus features. Instead, network teams might need to use a hybrid approach that considers controller criteria, alternatives and priorities.

Below is a chapter excerpt from SDN-Supported Edge-Cloud Interplay for Next Generation Internet of Things: "Performance Evaluation Methods for SDN Controllers." This chapter explores different components of SDN controllers and methods network teams can use to select a controller.

Book cover image of SDN-Supported Edge-Cloud Interplay for Next Generation Internet of ThingsClick here to learn more about
this book.

Explore SDN-Supported Edge-Cloud Interplay for Next Generation Internet of Things

Click here to read Chapter 6, "Performance Evaluation Methods for SDN Controllers."

About the editors
Kshira Sagar Sahoo
received his Master of Technology (MTech) degree in information and communication technology from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in Kharagpur, India, in 2014 and a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Rourkela in Rourkela, India, in 2019. He is currently working as assistant professor with the department of computer science and engineering at SRM University in Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh, India. He is a postdoctoral fellow with the department of computing science at Umeå University in Umeå, Sweden. He has published more than 90 research articles in various top international journals and conferences, including IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems; IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management; IEEE Systems Journal; IEEE Internet of Things Journal; Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications; Future Generation Computer Systems from Elsevier; and Journal of Systems and Software from Elsevier. His research interests include future-generation network infrastructure, such as SDN, edge computing, IoT and industrial IoT. He has more than five years' teaching experience, two years of industry experience and four years of research experience. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and associate member of the Institution of Engineers (India).

Arun Solanki received his MTech degree in computer engineering from YMCA University in Faridabad, Haryana, India, and a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from Gautam Buddha University in 2014. He is currently working as an assistant professor in the department of computer science and engineering at Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida, India. He is also co-convener of the Center of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Solanki has worked as timetable coordinator and as a member of the examinations, admissions, sports council, digital information and other university committees. He has supervised more than 70 MTech dissertations and is currently guiding five students through their Ph.D. in AI. His research interests span expert systems, machine learning and search engines. He has published more than 70 research articles in Science Citation Index (SCI)/Scopus-indexed international journals and conferences and participated in person in many national and international conferences, chairing many sessions. He has been a technical and advisory committee member of many international conferences and has organized several faculty development programs, conferences, workshops and seminars. He is an associate editor for the IGI Scopus-indexed International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies. He has been a guest editor for special issues of Recent Patents on Computer Science from Bentham Science Publishers. Arun Solanki has published more than 10 books with reputed publishers, including IGI Global, CRC Press, Elsevier and Apple Academic Press. He acts as a reviewer for Springer, Wiley, MDPI, IGI Global, Elsevier and other reputed publishers of SCI/Scopus journals.

Sambit Kumar Mishra is currently working as an assistant professor in the department of computer science and engineering at SRM University in India. He received his Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Rourkela, India, and MTech and MSc degrees in computer science from Utkal University in India. His research interests include cloud computing, edge/fog computing, IoT and wireless sensor networks. He has published more than 50 research articles in internationally reputed journals and conferences. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society, Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers, and Institute of Scholars.

Bibhudatta Sahoo obtained his MTech and Ph.D. degrees in computer science and engineering from NIT Rourkela in India. He is presently associate professor in the department of computer science and engineering at NIT Rourkela, and he has 25 years' teaching experience at undergraduate and graduate level in the field of computer science and engineering. He has authored or co-authored over 200 publications in refereed international journals and conferences by Wiley, Springer and Elsevier, including IEEE Transactions. His technical interests include data structures and algorithm design, parallel and distributed systems, networks, computational machines, algorithms for very large-scale integration design, performance evaluation methods and modeling techniques, distributed computing systems, networking algorithms and web engineering. He is a member of IEEE and ACM.

Anand Nayyar received his Ph.D. in computer science (wireless sensor networks, swarm intelligence and network simulation) from Desh Bhagat University in 2017. He is currently working in the School of Computer Science at Duy Tan University in Da Nang, Vietnam as assistant professor, scientist, vice chairman of research and director of IoT and Intelligent Systems Lab. He holds 125 professional certificates from Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon, the EC, Oracle, Google, Beingcert, Exin, Global Association for Quality Management, Cyberoam and many more. He has published more than 150 research papers in various high-quality International Scientific Indexing/SCI/SCI Expanded/Social Sciences Citation Index impact factor journals/Scopus/Emerging Sources Citation Index journals; 100 papers in international conferences indexed with Springer, IEEE Xplore and ACM Digital Library; and more than 50 book chapters in various Scopus/Web of Science-indexed books with Springer, CRC Press, Wiley, Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Elsevier. He is a senior or life member of more than 50 associations, including IEEE and ACM. He has authored, co-authored or edited 40 books on computer science. He has 18 Australian patents, 11 Indian Design-cum-Utility patents, three Indian copyrights, two Canadian copyrights, four German patents and one U.S. patent to his credit in the areas of wireless communications, AI, cloud computing, IoT and image processing. He has won many awards for his teaching and research. He acts as associate editor for Wireless Networks (Springer), Computer Communications (Elsevier), International Journal of Sensor Networks (Inderscience), Frontiers in Computer Science, PeerJ Computer Science, Human-centric Computing and Information Sciences, IET Quantum Communication, IET Wireless Sensor Systems, IET Networks, International Journal of Distributed Systems and Technologies, International Journal of Information Security and Privacy, International Journal of Cognitive Informatics and Natural Intelligence and International Journal of Green Computing. He is editor in chief of the USA IGI Global International Journal of Smart Vehicles and Smart Transportation. He has reviewed more than 3,000 articles for various Web of Science-indexed journals. He is currently researching wireless sensor networks, IoT, swarm intelligence, cloud computing, AI, drones, blockchain, cybersecurity, network simulation and wireless communications.

Dig Deeper on Cloud and data center networking

Unified Communications
Mobile Computing
Data Center