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docker-ovs creates Open vSwitch containers for Docker


The containers live in DockerHub so they can be easily used as follows:

docker pull socketplane/openvswitch


docker pull socketplane/openvswitch:2.3.1

Or even:

docker run -itd socketplane/openvswitch:2.3.1

Running the container

To run the container in userspace mode:

docker run -itd --cap-add NET_ADMIN socketplane/openvswitch

To run the container with the kernel module (assuming you have Linux Kernel 3.7+):

modprobe openvswitch
docker run -itd --cap-add NET_ADMIN socketplane/openvswitch

While it's recommended to load the kernel module outside of the container, it is possible to load the kernel module from within:

cid=$(docker run -itd --cap-add NET_ADMIN --cap-add SYS_MODULE -v /lib/modules:/lib/modules  socketplane/openvswitch)
docker exec $cid modprobe openvswitch
docker exec $cid supervisorctl restart ovs-vswitchd

Note 1: You need the "tun" kernel module loaded to run in userspace mode
Note 2: Change the tag for a specific OVS version e.g socketplane/openvswitch:2.3.0

Controlling The Processes

The processes can be controlled using supervisorctl

cid=$(docker run -itd --cap-add NET_ADMIN socketplane/openvswitch)
docker exec $cid supervisorctl
docker exec $cid supervisorctl stop|start|restart ovs-vswitchd
docker exec $cid supervisorctl stop|start|restart ovsdb-server

Note 3: Port 9001 is used to control supervisorctl over XML-RPC

Using the Open vSwitch Utilities

cid=$(docker run -itd --cap-add NET_ADMIN socketplane/openvswitch)
docker exec $cid ovs-vsctl show
docker exec $cid ovs-vsctl add-br foo
docker exec $cid ovs-ofctl -OOpenFlow13 dump-flows foo
docker exec $cid ovs-dpctl show

Supported Releases

The follwing releases are supported:

  • 1.4.6
  • 1.5.0
  • 1.6.1
  • 1.7.0
  • 1.7.1
  • 1.7.2
  • 1.7.3
  • 1.9.0
  • 1.9.3
  • 1.10.0
  • 1.10.2
  • 1.11.0
  • 2.0
  • 2.0.1
  • 2.1.0
  • 2.1.1
  • 2.1.2
  • 2.1.3
  • 2.3
  • 2.3.1

Creating bridges in Userspace Mode

To create bridges, please set the datapath type to netdev as advised in the Open vSwitch's INSTALL.userspace

ovs-vsctl add-br br0
ovs-vsctl set bridge br0 datapath_type=netdev
ovs-vsctl add-port br0 eth0
ovs-vsctl add-port br0 eth1
ovs-vsctl add-port br0 eth2

Hardware VTEP Support

Hardware VTEP support is enabled on OVS verisons greater than 2.1.0

cid=$(docker run -itd --cap-add NET_ADMIN socketplane/openvswitch)
docker exec $cid ovsdb-tool create /etc/openvswitch/vtep.db /usr/share/openvswitch/vtep.ovsschema
docker exec $cid supervisorctl stop ovsdb-server
docker exec $cid supervisorctl start ovsdb-server-vtep
docker exec $cid supervisorctl start ovs-vtep

Example using ovs-vsctl and vtep-ctl:

ovs-vsctl add-br br-vtep
ovs-vsctl add-port br-vtep eth0
vtep-ctl add-ps br-vtep
vtep-ctl add-port br-vtep eth0
vtep-ctl set Physical_Switch br-vtep tunnel_ips=

Building Containers

To build a container

docker build -t socketplane/openvswitch:2.3 2.3

Or to build all containers:

make build

Updating containers

The only files that require edits directly are:

  • Dockerfile
  • latest
  • Makefile

... and possibly ...

  • supervisord.conf

Adding a new version

Add the new version to Makefile and run make reconfigure:

If the new version you would like to add is the latest release, update the Dockerfile in the root of the repository and latest, before running make reconfigure.

Note: Only change the files in the root of the repository
make reconfigure handles copying these to the sub-directories
Unfortunately, Docker doesn't allow for a folder to be "shared" between all contexts, and Automated Builds only supports branches/tags/subfolders for now.
The better solution moving forward would be to have Dockerfile.<tag> in this reposirity, where Dockerfile is the latest, but we are dependent on changes in Docker Hub.


  1. Raise an issue
  2. Fork the repository
  3. Fix the issue
  4. Submit a pull request

License & Authors

Author: Dave Tucker (,

Copyright 2014 Red Hat Inc.
Copyright 2015 SocketPlane Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.
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