I’m incredibly excited to announce the release of Floodlight, a Java-based, Apache-licensed OpenFlow controller. As OpenFlow veterans, we’ve spent a lot of time working with OpenFlow controllers -- building enterprise-grade applications on them, ensuring compatibility with physical and virtual switches, defining APIs, measuring and improving performance, and generally pushing the limits of the OpenFlow protocol. Building on work done by David Erickson in the Beacon controller, we developed a best-in-class controller platform that we use in our commercial product and one that can foster an ecosystem of Software-Defined Networking application development. So, we’ve decided to share Floodlight with the OpenFlow community and dedicate a team to maintain and enhance it. Of course, we hope we’re not working alone -- Floodlight is a community project and we encourage all OpenFlow developers to join the effort. We are really excited about the promise of SDN and OpenFlow and we hope Floodlight can offer a spark of innovation.

A number of folks have asked me if the world needs another OpenFlow controller. My answer is a quite definitive YES. In addition to being the easiest controller platforms to build or extend (its Java after all), Floodlight offers an enterprise-grade open source solution that benefits from much of the robustness and quality testing done everyday at Big Switch. Also, it is one of the only controllers available with an Apache license, which allows the code to be reused for both research and commercial purposes. In fact, a study by OpenLogic found that flexible licenses (Apache/MIT/BSD) outnumbered GPL licenses in the enterprise by more than 3:1. While universities have led the charge so far in developing SDN, the next wave of innovation will come from startups (like us!) and networking vendors for whom Apache is simply the right choice.

Floodlight is currently available on OpenFlowHub, a community of OpenFlow developers leading or contributing to open source OpenFlow projects. We strongly encourage you to download the code, read the documentation, and join the mailing list. We’d love to see you get involved as a Floodlight user or developer and help us build a foundation for Software-Defined Networking.

Mike Cohen and the Floodlight team