Integration of OpenDaylight SDN controller with Neutron

date:2017-06-08 11:00
tags:opendaylight, neutron, SDN, openvswitch

Blueprint on Launchpad:

This spec introduces the work required to have the OpenDaylight (ODL) SDN controller deployed as a Neutron backend, using networking-odl ML2 mechanism driver to connect to Neutron.

This spec also covers the connection of OpenvSwitch (OvS) to OpenDaylight.

Problem description

OpenStack networking (Neutron) uses a modular approach that allows different backends to be used, by means of mechanism drivers. Although Neutron can handle simple deployments, more advanced networking capabilities are better addressed with an advanced SDN controller, such as OpenDaylight.

Proposed change

The proposed change consists on using the existing OpenDaylight Ansible role and optionally deploying it along with Neutron. The connection of OpenDaylight and Neutron is done by using the networking-odl ML2 mechanism driver, and configuring Neutron to use it.

After OpenDaylight and networking-odl are installed, some configuration is required in ml2.ini file to instruct Neutron to use the mechanism driver, as well as setup OpenDaylight’s endpoint and credentials.

Final step consists on connecting the traffic forwarding elements with the OpenDaylight controller. This spec will use OpenvSwitch for this task. Also, neutron-openvswitch-agent needs to be stopped and disabled, as OpenDaylight is the responsible for data plane management.


There are other networking backend for Neutron already available with Openstack-Ansible, namely Calico ( and DragonFlow ( These backends are optionally deployed depending on the ML2 configuration that is passed to os_neutron Ansible role.

Playbook/Role impact

The os_neutron role will be modified to optionally deploy OpenDaylight. The proposal is to use the same approach as DragonFlow: when the neutron_plugin_type variable is set to ml2.opendaylight, OpenDaylight would be used as Neutron backend. There will be a new taskfile, neutron_opendaylight_setup.yml, which would be included in os_neutron’s playbook when the above condition is fulfilled.

The OpenvSwitch scenario would be leveraged to work with OpenDaylight, being OvS the only switch supported in the first release.

Upgrade impact

This is the first implementation of OpenDaylight with Openstack-Ansible, so no upgrade concerns yet.

Security impact

Networking-odl configuration requires the setup of a username and password for northbound auhentication towards OpenDaylight. The deployer should be able to configure those credentials.

Communication between the controller and the switches will not be secured by default. Using TLS to secure the communications is considered a stretch goal, and deployers need to consider this security implication, specially in production environments. For more information on secure communications between OpenDaylight and OpenvSwitch, see the References.

Performance impact

For those choosing to opt-in this deployment method, some extra packages need to be installed on the system, which would make installation last a bit longer.

Extra resources are needed to run the OpenDaylight SDN controller on the system as well. However, performance in Neutron API calls should be minimum.

End user impact

End users would have a new networking API available through OpenDaylight. This would enable them to create advanced networking scenarios (e.g. Service Function Chaining). This will require some documentation with troubleshooting steps to verify that OpenDaylight is working properly, as well as pointers to OpenDaylight’s official documentation.

No changes to Horizon or other OpenStack components are expected.

Deployer impact

New artifacts are being deployed, namely the Karaf runtime for OpenDaylight, and the networking-odl pip package. OpenDaylight requires around 2.5G of RAM to work properly, with OpenStack, that would need to be considered when dimensioning the host where it will run.

Also deployers need to ensure that OpenvSwitch is deployed in all networking nodes, namely compute hosts and hosts where neutron agents are running.

Developer impact

Developer impact is very low, all tasks for OpenDaylight deployment will be optional and can be ignored when extending or modifying Neutron role.


There are no dependencies



Primary assignee:
Juan Vidal (jvidal)
Other contributors:
Fatih Degirmenci (fdegir) Daniel Farrell (dfarrell07)

Work items

  1. Install OpenDaylight SDN controller
  2. Configure Neutron to use OpenDaylight
  3. Deploy and configure OpenvSwitch to work with OpenDaylight
  4. Set OpenDaylight as OpenvSwitch manager
  5. Create a new test and verify that it passes
  6. Document the new scenario


As a replacement of Neutron backend, this new scenario should provide the same capabilities of existing backends, so existing tests should be run.

A test specific for OpenDaylight can also be implemented, in the same way as there are currently tests for Calico or DragonFlow.

Documentation impact

The new scenario OpenDaylight+OpenvSwitch should be documented, explaining the configuration parameters required to deploy it.