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Tool for staging and troubleshooting in SDN Environment Disclosure Number: IPCOM000235064D
Publication Date: 2014-Feb-26
Document File: 4 page(s) / 85K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a system/tool for automating the activity of troubleshooting and staging configuration in a Software Defined Networking(SDN) Environment. The mechanism tries to leverage the visibility and knowledge of the entire network, present in an SDN controller.

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Tool for staging and troubleshooting in SDN Environment

1. Background:

In a complex network troubleshooting a failure in traffic flow becomes a complicated task. It involves a lot of manual work in terms of logging into and looking at different nodes in the network. And lot of correlations need to be done between the configurations present in different nodes to arrive at figuring out the point of failure or root cause of a failure.

Ensuring the network is functioning properly with the incremental configuration changes on the network is considered to be another huge task for the network administrators. It involves running lot tests in the network, by trying to send different types of traffics in the network. Another issue with this approach will be that it requires the configurations to be updated in the network and to be reverted in case of failures. Generally network administrators tend to have replicated test environment with network devices to try out these configuration changes planned on the network.

2. Introduction:

In an SDN environment control plane will be available in a single centralized controller. Unlike the traditional network where each node will have a data plane and control plane. In SDN environment network nodes will have data plane and a thin layer running Openflow to communicate with the controller. Controller installs flow rules in the flow tables of all network nodes in the network that drive the forwarding decisions.

Problems of troubleshooting and staging configuration present mainly because of the control being distributed across all the nodes in the network. Both of these issues can be solved in the SDN environment enabled with Openflow protocol.

3. Approach in SDN Environment :

In the SDN environment controller sets up the flow rules in the flow tables of switches. Hence controller will have access to the snapshot of flow tables of all the switches in the network.

This provides an opportunity for the controller to build a tool with this snapshot.

A system/tool can be built to run through the flow tables to figure out what will happen to a given packet on the given network without making the packet run through the network. Thus it can be used for troubleshooting a failure in traffic flow in the network and for validating some changes on the network, before they actually gets programmed in the network.

4. Solution logic in brief for troubleshooting:

According to the Openflow protocol, at any node the action part of the flow rule can be in one of the following category,

• Forward (Forward the packet intact)

• Header Change and forward (Forward with header change)

• Drop

• Controller (Send packet to controller)

With the traffic characteristics a virtual packet can be constructed and made to run


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through the snapshot of flow rules of the nodes in the network.

Using the topology information the node at which the traffic will enter the network

can be identified and the matching flow rule/...