Distributed controller clustering in software defined networks

Ahmed Abdelaziz, Ang Tan Fong, Abdullah Gani, Usman Garba, Suleman Khan, Adnan Akhunzada, Hamid Talebian, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging promising paradigm for network management because of its centralized network intelligence. However, the centralized control architecture of the software-defined networks (SDNs) brings novel challenges of reliability, scalability, fault tolerance and interoperability. In this paper, we proposed a novel clustered distributed controller architecture in the real setting of SDNs. The distributed cluster implementation comprises of multiple popular SDN controllers. The proposed mechanism is evaluated using a real world network topology running on top of an emulated SDN environment. The result shows that the proposed distributed controller clustering mechanism is able to significantly reduce the average latency from 8.1% to 1.6%, the packet loss from 5.22% to 4.15%, compared to distributed controller without clustering running on HP Virtual Application Network (VAN) SDN and Open Network Operating System (ONOS) controllers respectively. Moreover, proposed method also shows reasonable CPU utilization results. Furthermore, the proposed mechanism makes possible to handle unexpected load fluctuations while maintaining a continuous network operation, even when there is a controller failure. The paper is a potential contribution stepping towards addressing the issues of reliability, scalability, fault tolerance, and inter-operability.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0174715
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2017


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