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What is Open vSwitch?

Open vSwitch is a multilayer software switch licensed under the open source Apache 2 license. It implements a production quality switch platform that supports standard management interfaces and opens the forwarding functions to programmatic extension and control.

Open vSwitch is well suited to function as a virtual switch in VM environments. In addition to exposing standard control and visibility interfaces to the virtual networking layer, it was designed to support distribution across multiple physical servers. Open vSwitch supports multiple Linux-based virtualization technologies including Xen/XenServer, KVM, and VirtualBox.

The bulk of the code is written in platform-independent C and is easily ported to other environments. The current release of Open vSwitch supports the following features:

  • Standard 802.1Q VLAN model with trunk and access ports
  • NIC bonding with or without LACP on upstream switch
  • NetFlow, sFlow(R), and mirroring for increased visibility
  • QoS (Quality of Service) configuration, plus policing
  • Geneve, GRE, GRE over IPSEC, VXLAN, and LISP tunneling
  • 802.1ag connectivity fault management
  • OpenFlow 1.0 plus numerous extensions
  • Transactional configuration database with C and Python bindings
  • High-performance forwarding using a Linux kernel module
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