OpenDaylight (ODL) is a popular open-source SDN controller framework. To learn more about OpenDaylight, it is helpful to use it to manage an emulated network of virtual switches and virtual hosts. Most people use the Mininet network emulator to create a virtual SDN network for OpenDaylight to control.

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In this post, I will show how to set up OpenDaylight to control an emulated Mininet network using OpenFlow 1.3. Because I am using virtual machines, the procedure I use will work the same in all commonly used host systems: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

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The Cloonix network simulator has been updated to version 29, which adds the ability to save network simulation topologies and node configurations to a directory.

Users may save a network topology and all node configurations to a directory of their choice. They may also load saved topologies into Cloonix so they can restore a network scenario they previously created. The save function of Cloonix v29 supports copy-on-write filesystems and also allows users to save the full filesystems of nodes, if they wish.

This post will work through a detailed tutorial showing how to save, load, and re-save topologies and node configurations using the Cloonix GUI or command-line interface.

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I recently purchased a used Lenovo Thinkpad T420 laptop to replace the Lenovo Thinkpad T400 I was previously using as my main platform for researching open-source network simulators and emulators. The T420 is a five-year old product but it offers all the ports and performance I need. Because it is well past its depreciation curve, anyone can purchase a used T420 for a very low price.

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I wanted a computer that supports high-resolution external monitors so it required a DisplayPort output. I also wanted to expand the number of VMs I can run concurrently with adequate performance so I needed a processor that supports HyperThreading. I wanted to switch to the Ubuntu Linux distribution and the Ubuntu Unity desktop environment needs just a bit more processing power to run smoothly. The Lenovo Thinkpad T420 meets all these requirements.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lenovo Thinkpad T420, another excellent and inexpensive Linux platform.

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When writing a blog post about a technical topic, I often capture a lot of screen shots that I need to edit before adding them to my blog article. Usually I want to add a border around each image and I sometimes want to reduce the size of images that are too large. I want to do this quickly and easily so I use ImageMagick, an open-source command line image editor.

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ImageMagick is a powerful image manipulation tool with an intimidatingly large set of options and subcommands. However, most bloggers will use only a few simple options. In this post, I will show how to install and use ImageMagick to perform the simple image conversions bloggers typically need. I will show how this can be done on each of the major operating systems: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

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The Cloonix development team recently released a major update to the Cloonix network simulator.

Cloonix version 28 makes major changes to the infrastructure of Cloonix. It changes the installation procedure, the location of Cloonix files on your computer, and the names of the commands used to start and administer Cloonix.

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Cloonix version 28 also makes changes to the features available to users. It adds support for multiple Cloonix servers running on the same machine, and standardizes and documents the new interface types used to connect virtual machines to each other.

Read the rest of this post for more details about what’s new in Cloonix v28.

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I need to determine the maximum number of KVM virtual machines that can run on an average laptop computer. Unfortunately, I cannot find authoritative information about the maximum number of KVM virtual machines that can run on a host computer. Most information I could find about KVM limits does not publish absolute limits but, instead, recommends best practices.

In this post, I will synthesize the information available from multiple sources into a single recommendation for the maximum number of KVM-based nodes that can run in an open-source network simulator running on a single host computer.

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In this post, I will show how to set up data capture in the GNS3 network simulator when using network devices that are emulated by VirtualBox or QEMU virtual machines.

The GNS3 network simulator makes it easy for users to capture and view data passing across the interfaces of devices running in a GNS3 network simulation. The GNS3 documentation covers how to capture data from devices running on Dynamips in GNS3 but the procedures for capturing data from devices running in other hypervisors, such as VirtualBox or QEMU/KVM, are not well documented.

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While GNS3 users may start and stop data capture on Dynamips VM interfaces any time they wish, they must plan ahead when they intend to capture data on open-source routers and hosts running on VirtualBox or QEMU virtual machines.

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GNS3 1.3 will create and manage VirtualBox virtual machine linked clones from within the GNS3 user interface. This simplifies the process of setting up VirtualBox virtual machines in GNS3, which makes GNS3 easier to use for studying the operation of open-source routers, switches, and hosts in network simulation scenarios.

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In this post, I will show how to set up and use VirtualBox linked clones in your GNS3 simulation scenarios and work through a detailed tutorial.

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When network engineers are learning the concepts of software defined networking and SDN controllers, they may want to experiment with SDN network scenarios before learning to write programs to be used by the SDN controllers.

POX is a simple-to-use SDN controller that is bundled with the Mininet SDN network emulator and is used in education and research as a learning and prototyping tool. POX components are Python programs that implement networking functions and can be invoked when POX is started. POX comes with a few stock components ready to use.

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In this tutorial, we will use stock POX components to implement basic switching functionality with loop prevention in a software defined network, without writing any code. Then, we will explore how the SDN controller programs the OpenFlow-enabled switched in a network created using the Mininet network emulator.

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When testing SDN functions in the Mininet network emulator and viewing captured OpenFlow messages in a packet analyzer such as Wireshark, it is difficult to identify which SDN switch is the source or destination of each captured message.

The only reliable way to identify which SDN switch sent or received an OpenFlow message is to look at the source or destination TCP port of the OpenFlow packets. This is because most OpenFlow messages exchanged between switches and the controller do not contain any other information that helps identify the sending or receiving switch. Neither Mininet nor the Open vSwitch database provides information that might be used to identify the TCP ports used by each switches to communicate with the OpenFlow controller in the network.

This post describes a procedure to map which TCP ports are used on each switch to communicate with the SDN controller in the Mininet network simulation. This procedure will enable researchers or students to study the interactions between SDN controller and switches in a more detailed and accurate way.

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IMUNES on Linux

August 13, 2015

The IMUNES open-source network simulator can now be installed on and run on Linux. Previously, IMUNES was available only for the FreeBSD operating system.

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The Linux version of IMUNES is ready to be used and can set up and run network emulation scenarios. It does not yet have all the features offered in the FreeBSD version of IMUNES but the development team intends make add in more features until both versions support similar capabilities.

In this post, we will show how to install the Linux version of IMUNES on Ubuntu 14.04, look at the tool set used by IMUNES on Linux, and experiment with a simple network simulation scenario.

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In 2014, the GNS3 development team launched a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to support development of a major new release, version 1.0, which was released in October that same year. I was happy to support the Kickstarter campaign and now I am finally getting around to taking a look at the new version of GNS3.

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The last time I used the GNS3 network simulator, it was at version 0.8.7. After producing version GNS3 1.0, the GNS3 development team has been updating it frequently. GNS3 is now at version 1.3.7.

In this post, I will look at the new version 1.3.7 of GNS3 and evaluate how it works with emulated routers and hosts running open-source software.

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