Comprehensive Exploration and Performance Assessment of SDN Controller


  • Fadhl E. Hadi Department of Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Al-Iraqia University, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Bilal R. Al-Kaseem Department of Communication Engineering, College of Engineering and Information Technology, AlShaab University, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Hamed S. Al-Raweshidy Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences, Brunel University London, London, United Kingdom



SDN Controllers, Performance, Software Defined Network


SDNs provide flexible and intelligent network capabilities by dividing traditional networks into a centralized control plane and a programmable data plane. Network performance improvement relies on the intelligent control plane, which establishes flow paths for switches. Within the control plane, the controller serves as the core component for all data plane management operations, underscoring the significance of its performance and capabilities. Additionally, it is crucial to utilize accurate and efficient tools for assessing various evaluation parameters. Specifically, based on their capabilities, we identify and categorize 14 controllers, offering a qualitative comparison of their features. Furthermore, we investigate the capabilities of benchmarking tools used to assess controllers for SDN.


C. Y. Hong et al., “B4 and after: Managing hierarchy, partitioning, and asymmetry for availability and scale in Google’s software-defined WAN,” in SIGCOMM 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc, Aug. 2018, pp. 74–87. doi: 10.1145/3230543.3230545.

S. Bera, S. Misra, and A. V. Vasilakos, “Software-Defined Networking for Internet of Things: A Survey,” IEEE Internet Things J, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 1994–2008, Dec. 2017, doi: 10.1109/JIOT.2017.2746186.

V. G. Nguyen, A. Brunstrom, K. J. Grinnemo, and J. Taheri, “SDN/NFV-Based Mobile Packet Core Network Architectures: A Survey,” IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 1567–1602, Jul. 2017, doi: 10.1109/COMST.2017.2690823.

L. Zhu, X. Tang, M. Shen, X. Du, and M. Guizani, “Privacy-Preserving DDoS Attack Detection Using Cross-Domain Traffic in Software Defined Networks,” IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 628–643, Mar. 2018, doi: 10.1109/JSAC.2018.2815442.

R. Mungara#, K. Venkateswararao#, and V. Pallamreddy#, “A Routing-Driven Elliptic Curve Cryptography Based Key Management Scheme for Heterogeneous Sensor Networks.” [Online]. Available:

N. Gude et al., “NOX: Towards an Operating System for Networks.” [Online]. Available:

“POX Controller Manual Current Documentation.” [Online]. Available:”.

“Big Switch Networks, “Project Floodlight.” [Online]. Available:”.

““OpenDaylight: A Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.” [Online]. Available:”.

P. Berde et al., “ONOS: Towards an open, distributed SDN OS,” in HotSDN 2014 - Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2014 Workshop on Hot Topics in Software Defined Networking, Association for Computing Machinery, 2014, pp. 1–6. doi: 10.1145/2620728.2620744.

“Ryu SDN Framework Community, “Ryu Controller.” [Online]. Available:”.

F. Hu, Q. Hao, and K. Bao, “A survey on software-defined network and OpenFlow: From concept to implementation,” IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, vol. 16, no. 4. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., pp. 2181–2206, Apr. 24, 2014. doi: 10.1109/COMST.2014.2326417.

K. Dhamecha and B. Trivedi, “SDN Issues-A Survey,” 2013.

D. Kreutz, F. M. V. Ramos, P. Verissimo, C. E. Rothenberg, S. Azodolmolky, and S. Uhlig, “Software-Defined Networking: A Comprehensive Survey,” Jun. 2014, [Online]. Available:

“A. Voellmy, H. Kim, and N. Feamster, “Procera: A language for highlevel reactive network control,” in Proc. 1st Workshop Hot Topics Softw. Defined Netw., Helsinki, Finland, 2012, pp. 43–48.”.

N. Mckeown et al., “OpenFlow: Enabling Innovation in Campus Networks,” 2008.

“The SoftRouter Architecture.”

“Forwarding and Control Element Separation (ForCES) Framework”.

“N. Feamster, H. Balakrishnan, J. Rexford et al., “The Case for Separating Routing from Routers,” in Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Future Directions in Network Architecture, 2004, pp. 5–12.”.

“A. Farrel, J.-P. Vasseur, and J. Ash, “A Path Computation Element (PCE)-Based Architecture,” RFC 4655, Internet Engineering Task Force,2006.”.

J. Van Der Merwe et al., “Dynamic Connectivity Management with an Intelligent Route Service Control Point,” 2006.

A. Greenberg et al., “A Clean Slate 4D Approach to Network Control and Management *,” 2005.

O. Akonjang, “SANE: A Protection Architecture For Enterprise Networks,” 2006.

“D. Erickson, “The beacon openflow controller,” Proceedings of the second ACM SIGCOMM workshop, pp. 13–18, 2013.”.

R. Sherwood et al., “FlowVisor: A Network Virtualization Layer,” 2009. [Online]. Available:

A. Tootoonchian and Y. Ganjali, “HyperFlow: A Distributed Control Plane for OpenFlow.”

“NODEFLOW: An openflow controller node style.” [Online]. Available:”.

“OpenContrail An open-source network virtualization platform for the cloud.” [Online]. Available:

“OpenContrail An open-source network virtualization platform for the cloud.” [Online]. Available:

“GitHub, “RunOS OpenFlow Controller.” [Online]. Available:”.

M. Monaco, O. Michel, and E. Keller, “Applying Operating System Principles to SDN Controller Design,” Oct. 2015, doi: 10.1145/2535771.2535789.

J. W. Guck, A. Van Bemten, M. Reisslein, and W. Kellerer, “Unicast QoS Routing Algorithms for SDN: A Comprehensive Survey and Performance Evaluation,” IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 388–418, Jan. 2018, doi: 10.1109/COMST.2017.2749760.

D. Lopez-Pajares, E. Rojas, J. A. Carral, I. Martinez-Yelmo, and J. Alvarez-Horcajo, “The Disjoint Multipath Challenge: Multiple Disjoint Paths Guaranteeing Scalability,” IEEE Access, vol. 9, pp. 74422–74436, 2021, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3080931.

R. Khondoker, A. Zaalouk, R. Marx, and K. Bayarou, “Feature-based Comparison and Selection of Software Defined Networking (SDN) Controllers.”

O. Salman, I. H. Elhajj, A. Kayssi, and A. Chehab, “SDN controllers: A comparative study,” in Proceedings of the 18th Mediterranean Electrotechnical Conference: Intelligent and Efficient Technologies and Services for the Citizen, MELECON 2016, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., Jun. 2016. doi: 10.1109/MELCON.2016.7495430.

L. Zhu, M. M. Karim, K. Sharif, F. Li, X. Du, and M. Guizani, “SDN Controllers: Benchmarking & Performance Evaluation,” Feb. 2019, [Online]. Available:

L. Zhu et al., “SDN Controllers: A Comprehensive Analysis and Performance Evaluation Study,” ACM Computing Surveys, vol. 53, no. 6. Association for Computing Machinery, Feb. 01, 2021. doi: 10.1145/3421764.

N. Gupta, M. S. Maashi, S. Tanwar, S. Badotra, M. Aljebreen, and S. Bharany, “A Comparative Study of Software Defined Networking Controllers Using Mininet,” Electronics (Switzerland), vol. 11, no. 17. MDPI, Sep. 01, 2022. doi: 10.3390/electronics11172715.




How to Cite

E. Hadi, F., R. Al-Kaseem, B., & S. Al-Raweshidy, H. (2023). Comprehensive Exploration and Performance Assessment of SDN Controller. Al-Iraqia Journal for Scientific Engineering Research, 2(4), 83–90.