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docker-ovs creates userspace Open vSwitch containers. Running Open vSwitch in userspace mode is experimental and performance is not guaranteed. This is provided for testing purposes, specifically for testing against multiple versions of openvswitch with CI tools.


The containers live on the Docker Index so they can be easily used as follows:

docker pull davetucker/docker-ovs


docker pull davetucker/docker-ovs:2.1.2

Or even:

docker run -t -i davetucker/docker-ovs:2.1.2 /bin/sh

Running the container

To run the container listening on port 6640 (OVSDB) and 9001 (Supervisor XML-RPC API) and with supervisor managing the Open vSwitch processes:

sudo docker run -p 6640:6640 -p 9001:9001 --privileged=true -d -i -t davetucker/docker-ovs:2.1.2 /usr/bin/supervisord

To run the container listening on port 6640 (OVSDB) and 9001 (Supervisor XML-RPC API) with a shell - you must manually start the process:

sudo docker run -p 6640:6640 -p 9001:9001 --privileged=true -i -t davetucker/docker-ovs:2.1.2 /bin/sh

Once the container starts, you can start Open vSwitch as follows:

export OVS_RUNDIR=/var/run/openvswitch
sed -i s/nodaemon=true/nodaemon=false/g /etc/supervisord.conf

The processes can be controlled using supervisorctl

Note: You need the "tun" kernel module loaded to run this container

Note: Change the tag for a different OVS version e.g davetucker/docker-ovs:2.0.0

Note: Docker 0.10.0 upwards does not require the --privileged=true flag as 0.10.0 allows non-privileged containers to create device nodes. See the Docker Changelog for more information.

Note: Port 9001 is used to controller supervisorctl over XML-RPC

Supported Releases

The follwing releases are supported:

  • 1.4.6
  • 1.5.0
  • 1.6.1
  • 1.7.0
  • 1.7.1
  • 1.7.3
  • 1.9.0
  • 1.9.3
  • 1.10.0
  • 1.10.2
  • 1.11.0
  • 2.0.0
  • 2.0.1
  • 2.1.0
  • 2.1.1
  • 2.1.2

Creating bridges

To create bridges, please set the datapath type to netdev as advised in the Open vSwitch's INSTALL.userspace

ovs-vsctl add-br br0
ovs-vsctl set bridge br0 datapath_type=netdev
ovs-vsctl add-port br0 eth0
ovs-vsctl add-port br0 eth1
ovs-vsctl add-port br0 eth2

Hardware VTEP Support

Hardware VTEP support is enabled on OVS verisons greater than 2.1.0

To use this, make the necessary configuration changes over OVSDB or via the ctl commands in the container:

  • Create a bridge called br-vtep
  • Add a eth0 to br-vtep
  • Add the bridge and port as a Physical_Switch
  • Set the tunnel_ips

Example using ovs-vsctl and vtep-ctl:

ovs-vsctl add-br br-vtep
ovs-vsctl add-port br-vtep eth0
vtep-ctl add-ps br-vtep
vtep-ctl add-port br-vtep eth0
vtep-ctl set Physical_Switch br-vtep tunnel_ips=

To start the VTEP Simulator you can use the Supervisor XML-RPC API

export DOCKER_IP="<ip address>"

Test Environment

To bring up the test environment

vagrant up

Building Containers

The build system for the containers now uses BuildRoot in addition to Packer To build the containers, pull up the Vagrantbox as shown above.

cd /tmp/buildroot
echo 'source "package/openvswitch/"' >>
make menuconfig

From the menu select:

Target Packages > Utilities > Supervisor

Then exit.

cd /vagrant

This could take up to 5 hours the first time depending on how powerful your VM is! Once this has finished you'll see a lot of ovsbase-${version} docker containers. These are used by Packer to assemble the final containers.

If you want to do a "clean" build after you've added/removed some packages or libraries.

./build-containers -r

If you've made changes and are sure that you only need to run make for each container.

./build-containers -r

Updating containers

Assuming you only want to make configuration changes.

  • Changes to the install/configure scripts
  • Changes to docker-ovs.json

You can run:


This will re-run Packer and build your newly configured containers.


  1. Raise an issue
  2. Fork the repository
  3. Fix the issue
  4. Submit a pull request

License & Authors

Author: Dave Tucker (

Copyright 2014 Red Hat Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.


Userspace Open vSwitch for Docker




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