Floodlight Controller is an SDN Controller offered by Big Switch Networks that works with the OpenFlow protocol to orchestrate traffic flows in a software-defined networking (SDN) environment. OpenFlow is one of the first and most widely used SDN standards; it defines the open communications protocol in an SDN environment that allows the SDN Controller (brains of the network) to speak to the forwarding plane (switches, routers, etc.) to make changes to the network.
The SDN Controller is responsible for maintaining all of the network rules and providing the necessary instructions to the underlying infrastructure on how traffic should be handled. This enables businesses to better adapt to their changing needs and have better control over their networks.
The Floodlight Controller was originally offered by Big Switch as part of the OpenDaylight Project, but in June 2013, Big Switch stepped away amid what seems to be conflicting interests with Cisco. While the Floodlight Controller is still open source, it is not involved with the OpenDaylight Project.
Benefits of the Floodlight Controller
The Floodlight Controller can be advantageous for developers, because it offers them the ability to easily adapt software and develop applications and is written in Java. Included are representational state transfer application program interfaces (REST APIs) that make it easier to program interface with the product, and the Floodlight website offers coding examples that aid developers in building the product.
Tested with both physical and virtual OpenFlow-compatible switches, the Floodlight Controller can work in a variety of environments and can coincide with what businesses already have at their disposal. It can also support networks where groups of OpenFlow-compatible switches are connected through traditional, non-OpenFlow switches.
For detailed SDN Controller Vendor and Open Source SDN Controller comparisons, checkout the 2017 Future of Network Virtualization and SDN Controllers Report also available as PDF Download
The Floodlight Controller is compatible with OpenStack, a set of software tools that help build and manage cloud computing platforms for both public and private clouds. Floodlight can be run as the network backend for OpenStack using a Neutron plugin that exposes a networking-as-a-service model with a REST API that Floodlight offers.
How Floodlight Controller works in SDN Environments