A collection of programming exercises provides hands-on experience with the software described in this book. They include:
Using Stratum’s P4Runtime, gNMI, OpenConfig, and gNOI interfaces
Using ONOS to control P4-programmed switches
Writing ONOS applications to implement control plane logic
Testing a software stack using bmv2 in Mininet
Using PTF to test P4-based forwarding planes
The exercises assume familiarity with Java and Python, although each exercise comes with starter code, so a high level of proficiency is not required. The exercises also use the Mininet network emulator, the bmv2 P4-based switch emulator, the PTF Packet Testing Framework, and the Wireshark protocol analyzer. Additional information about each of these software tools is provided in the individual exercises.
The exercises originated with a Next Generation SDN Tutorial produced by ONF, and so they come with a collection of on-line tutorial slides that introduce the topics covered in the exercises:
These slides have significant overlap with the material covered in this book, so it is not essential that you start with the slides, but they can be a good supplemental resource.
You will be doing the exercises in a virtualized Linux environment running on your laptop. This section describes how to install and prepare that environment.
The current configuration of the VM is 4 GB of RAM and a 4-core CPU. These are the recommended minimum system requirements to complete the exercises. The VM also takes approximately 8 GB of HDD space. For a smooth experience, we recommend running the VM on a host system that has at least double these resources.
Click the following link to download the VM (4 GB):
The VM is in
.ova format and has been created using VirtualBox
v5.2.32. You can use any modern virtualization system to run the VM,
although we recommend using VirtualBox. The following links provide
instructions on how to get VirtualBox and import the VM:
Alternatively, you can use these scripts to build a VM on your machine using Vagrant.
All scripts have been tested on MacOS and Ubuntu. Although they should work on Windows, they have not been tested. We therefore recommend that Windows users download the provided VM.
At this point you can start the virtual machine (an Ubuntu system),
and log in using the credentials
rocks. The instructions
given throughout the remainder of this section (as well as the
exercises themselves) are to be executed within the running VM.
To work on the exercises you will need to clone the following repo:
$ cd ~ $ git clone -b advanced https://github.com/opennetworkinglab/ngsdn-tutorial --depth 1
ngsdn-tutorial directory is already present in the VM, make
sure to update its content:
$ cd ~/ngsdn-tutorial $ git pull origin advanced
Note that there are multiple branches of the repo, each with a
different configuration of the exercises. Always make sure you are in
The VM may have shipped with an older version of the dependencies than you need for the exercises. You can upgrade to the latest version using the following command:
$ cd ~/ngsdn-tutorial $ make deps
This command downloads all necessary Docker images (~1.5 GB), which allows you to work through the exercises off-line.
Using an IDE¶
During the exercises you will need to write code in multiple languages (e.g., P4, Java, Python). While the exercises do not require the use of any specific IDE or code editor, one option is the Java IDE IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, which comes pre-loaded with plugins for P4 syntax highlighting and Python development. We suggest using IntelliJ IDEA especially when working on the ONOS app, as it provides code completion for all ONOS APIs.
The repo you cloned is structured as follows:
p4src\→ Data Plane Implementation (P4)
yang\→ Config Models (YANG)
app\→ Custom ONOS app (Java)
mininet\→ 2x2 leaf-spine (Mininet)
util\→ Utility Scripts (Bash)
ptf\→ Data plane unit tests (PTF)
Note that the exercises include links to various files on GitHub, but don’t forget you have those same files cloned on your laptop.
To facilitate working on the exercises, the repo provides a set of
make targets to control the different aspects of the process. The
specific commands are introduced in the individual exercises, but the
following is a quick reference:
make deps→ Pull and build all required dependencies
make p4-build→ Build P4 program
make p4-test→ Run PTF tests
make start→ Start Mininet and ONOS containers
make stop→ Stop all containers
make restart→ Restart containers clearing any previous state
make onos-cli→ Access the ONOS CLI (password:
rocks, Ctrl-D to exit)
make onos-log→ Show the ONOS log
make mn-cli→ Access the Mininet CLI (Ctrl-D to exit)
make mn-log→ Show the Mininet log (i.e., the CLI output)
make app-build→ Build custom ONOS app
make app-reload→ Install and activate the ONOS app
make netcfg→ Push
netcfg.jsonfile (network config) to ONOS
As a reminder, these commands will be executed in a terminal window
you open within the VM you just created. Be sure you are in the
root directory of the repo you cloned (where the main
The following lists (and links) the individual exercises. That there are 8 exercises and 8 chapters is a coincidence. Exercises 1 and 2 focus on Stratum, and are best attempted after reading through Chapter 5. Exercises 3 through 6 focus on ONOS and are best attempted after reading through Chapter 6. Exercises 7 and 8 focus on Trellis and are best attempted after reading through Chapter 7. Note that the exercises build on each other, so it is best to work through them in order.
You can find solutions for each exercise in the
subdirectory for the repo you cloned. Feel free to compare your
solution to the reference solution should you get stuck.
When exercises call for viewing graphical output, you will see reference to the ONF Cloud Tutorial Portal. This is for cloud-hosted VMs used during ONF-run tutorials, and so does apply here. In its place, the exercises also describe how to access the GUI running locally on your laptop.