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ONOS-P4 Developer Virtual Machine

This directory contains files necessary to build and provision a VM to test and develop ONOS support for P4Runtime.

For more information on P4 support in ONOS please visit the following web page:

This document contains also instructions on how to download a pre-built VM.


The VM is based on Ubuntu 16.04 (server) and contains the following software:

  • ONOS
  • BMv2 (P4 software switch with P4Runtime support)
  • p4c (P4 compiler)
  • Mininet (network emulator)

Tutorial VM

It is possible to generate a variant of the VM to be used during tutorials. This version of the VM comes with a desktop environment and various code editors with P4 syntax highlighting (vim, Sublime Text, and Atom).

Recommended system requirements

The VM is configured with 4 GB of RAM and 2 CPU cores (4 cores for the tutorial variant). The disk has size of approx. 4 GB but expect to grow up to 8 GB when building ONOS. For a flawless experience we recommend running the VM on a host system that has at least the double of resources.

These are the recommended minimum requirements to be able to run a Mininet network with 1-10 BMv2 devices controlled by 1 ONOS instance. To emulate larger networks with multiple instances of ONOS (for example using, we recommend configuring the VM to use at least 4 CPU cores.

To modify the VM configuration you can either modify the Vagrantfile (look for vb.cpus) before starting the build process, or use the VirtualBox VM settings after you have imported the pre-built VM.

Download a pre-built VM

Building the VM takes around 30-50 minutes, depending on your Internet connection speed. If you would rather not wait, you can use the following link to download an Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) package to be imported using VirtualBox or any other x86 virtualization system that supports this format.

Pre-built OVA package (approx. 1.5 GB):

The tutorial variant of the OVA package can be found here (approx 2.3 GB):

Login credentials

The VM comes with one user with sudo privileges named sdn with password rocks. Use these credentials to log in the guest Ubuntu system.

Build the VM


To build the VM you will need the following software installed in your host machine:

Optionally, to export the VM as an OVA package you will also need sshpass.

Build using Vagrant

The VM can be generated locally using Vagrant. In a terminal window type:

cd $ONOS_ROOT/tools/dev/p4vm
vagrant up

Once Vagrant has provisioned the VM, you can access to it using the vagrant ssh command. However, this command will log in to the guest Ubuntu shell with the default vagrant user. To use ONOS and the other P4 tools, we suggest using the sdn user. Once you are able to access the VM using vagrant ssh, use the following command to switch to the sdn user:

sudo su sdn

Export as OVA package

It is possible to generate an OVA package to distribute a pre-built VM. To generate the OVA file, in a terminal window type the following commands:

cd $ONOS_ROOT/tools/dev/p4vm

This script will:

  1. provision the VM using Vagrant;
  2. remove the vagrant user;
  3. reduce VM disk size (by removing build artifacts);
  4. generate a file named onos-p4-dev.ova.

Building the tutorial VM

To build the tutorial VM, simply set the environment variable P4_VM_TYPE to tutorial before building.

For example:

P4_VM_TYPE=tutorial vagrant up

In alternative, to generate the OVA package:

P4_VM_TYPE=tutorial ./

Support for Ubuntu 18.04

We provide experimental support for Ubuntu 18.04 for both the dev and the tutorial VM. To specify the Ubuntu version to use, set the environment variable P4_VM_UBUNTU_VERSION before building. For example: