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Core OpenFlow agent and infrastructure modules


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Core OpenFlow agent and infrastructure modules


Indigo is an open source project to support OpenFlow on a range of physical and now virtual switch platforms. The original version of Indigo was based on the Stanford reference implementation of an OpenFlow virtual switch. This release represents a complete rearchitecture with a continued focus on native support for hardware switching platforms and better support for a variety of virtual switching environments.

This repository is available at It provides:

  • The Indigo-2 architecture header files
  • The implementation of the core modules related to OpenFlow switch state
  • Unit tests for each module

Note that this repository does not currently build a stand alone application other than the unit tests. The code here provides implementations of the platform independent components of an OpenFlow switch.

Getting Started

System Requirements

This code has been tested on Ubuntu 12.10 server with the packages indicated below. In general, the code should build on Linux based servers with gcc, make and Python.

The following packages were installed on Ubuntu 12.10 using apt-get to allow the unit tests to compile and run.

  • git (version
  • make (GNU make version 3.81)
  • gcc (version 4.7)
  • libcap2-bin (for setcap)
  • doxygen (version (optional)

Building Unit Tests

Run make check. This will build and run each module's unit test. In general, you will see a lot of output and occasionally even error messages for tests that exercise error handling.

Use the VERBOSE environment variable to diagnose building problems, and the BUILDER_EXCLUDE_SETCAP and VALGRIND environment variables to find memory leaks. For example: "make VERBOSE=1", or "make BUILDER_EXCLUDE_SETCAP=1 VALGRIND=1".

Generating Documentation

Run make doc. This requires Doxygen. The generated HTML output can be found at doc/html/index.html.

Next Steps

To build a full OpenFlow switch implementation, you will need to create or obtain the Forwarding and Port Manager, platform specific module implementations. See the Indigo developer's email list at for further discussion.

Contributions are invited. Please fork the repository and submit pull requests. Note that currently pull requests may be incorporated indirectly. As the volume of contributions increases, we expect to migrate to a more typical shared repository model.

Tracking Issues

Issues are currently tracked in the github repository tracking facility. Please select the Issues tab at the repository web site:


Pull requests are welcomed and will be evaluated as quickly as possible. Coding guidelines have yet to be documented.


Please see LICENSE at the top level of the repository.

Code Overview

The code in this repository is organized into modules under the modules subdirectory. The module's code files are divided between published include headers (usually in the subdirectory module/inc/) and the actual implementation (usually in the subdirectory module/src/).

In general, each module has instructions on how to build a library.
Modules may have dependencies on other modules, though these must be limited to the published header files.

Applications are built by creating a subdirectory under targets. Each target lists the set of modules on which it depends and then provides application code. Currently, only unit test applications are made available in this distribution.

Code from other repositories is consumed using git submodules. All submodules are located under the submodules directory.

The build infrastructure is implemented by a collection of make files and some scripts. These live in the infra submodule, in the builder directory. To support multiple build environments, the builder directory has per-build environment subdirectories. Currently only the unix build environment is supported in this distribution.

Architectural Overview

The Indigo architecture uses Loci, the C output of LoxiGen (available at That library provides a set of interfaces for working with OpenFlow objects. In general, Loci definitions are prefixed with of_. The Loci files are included in the indigo distribution, though they can be updated using LoxiGen directly.

The Indigo architecture (sometimes called the Indigo-2 architecture) on which this code is based is specified in the header files in the indigo module. Note that this can be a bit confusing as the top level distribution and the module defining these interfaces both have the same name.

This architecture is broken into two sets of modules: The platform independent modules and the platform specific modules. This repository provides implementations of platform independent modules. These include:

  • The socket manager: Provides the functionality for managing sockets. It provides a generic socket registration process as well as timer event processing to allow these functions to be integrated in single threaded environments.
  • The OpenFlow connection manager: Provides the functionality for managing OpenFlow connections such as addition and removal of connection instances, tracking the connection state (handshakes, keep alives) and applying rate limiting policy for asynchronous messages.
  • The OpenFlow state manager: Provides the functionality for representing the OpenFlow state of the switch in a platform independent way. This allows the decoupling of database-like queries on the OpenFlow flow table from the manipulation of the forwarding state that is platform specific.
  • Configuration: This module provides platform and implementation specific access to the interfaces provided by the other modules that permit updating the running configuration of the application.

The platform specific modules (not included in this distribution) are:

  • Forwarding: This module exposes interfaces that allow the manipulation of the platform's forwarding engine as represented by OpenFlow protocol updates.
  • Port manager: This module exposes interfaces the allow the interrogation and manipulation of the platforms data plane entries.


Core OpenFlow agent and infrastructure modules



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