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This document describes the general architecture of Kube-OVN, the functionality of each component and how they interact with each other.

Overall, Kube-OVN serves as a bridge between Kubernetes and OVN, combining proven SDN with Cloud Native. This means that Kube-OVN not only implements network specifications under Kubernetes, such as CNI, Service and Networkpolicy, but also brings a large number of SDN domain capabilities to cloud-native, such as logical switches, logical routers, VPCs, gateways, QoS, ACLs and traffic mirroring.

Kube-OVN also maintains a good openness to integrate with many technology solutions, such as Cilium, Submariner, Prometheus, KubeVirt, etc.

Component Introduction

The components of Kube-OVN can be broadly divided into three categories.

  • Upstream OVN/OVS components.
  • Core Controller and Agent.
  • Monitoring, operation and maintenance tools and extension components.

Upstream OVN/OVS Components

This type of component comes from the OVN/OVS community with specific modifications for Kube-OVN usage scenarios. OVN/OVS itself is a mature SDN system for managing virtual machines and containers, and we strongly recommend that users interested in the Kube-OVN implementation read ovn-architecture(7) first to understand what OVN is and how to integrate with it. Kube-OVN uses the northbound interface of OVN to create and coordinate virtual networks and map the network concepts into Kubernetes.

All OVN/OVS-related components have been packaged into images and are ready to run in Kubernetes.


The ovn-central Deployment runs the control plane components of OVN, including ovn-nb, ovn-sb, and ovn-northd.

  • ovn-nb: Saves the virtual network configuration and provides an API for virtual network management. kube-ovn-controller will mainly interact with ovn-nb to configure the virtual network.
  • ovn-sb: Holds the logical flow table generated from the logical network of ovn-nb, as well as the actual physical network state of each node.
  • ovn-northd: translates the virtual network of ovn-nb into a logical flow table in ovn-sb.

Multiple instances of ovn-central will synchronize data via the Raft protocol to ensure high availability.


ovs-ovn runs as a DaemonSet on each node, with openvswitch, ovsdb, and ovn-controller running inside the Pod. These components act as agents for ovn-central to translate logical flow tables into real network configurations.

Core Controller and Agent

This part is the core component of Kube-OVN, serving as a bridge between OVN and Kubernetes, bridging the two systems and translating network concepts between them. Most of the core functions are implemented in these components.


This component performs the translation of all resources within Kubernetes to OVN resources and acts as the control plane for the entire Kube-OVN system. The kube-ovn-controller listens for events on all resources related to network functionality and updates the logical network within the OVN based on resource changes. The main resources listened including:


Taking the Pod event as an example, kube-ovn-controller listens to the Pod creation event, allocates the address via the built-in in-memory IPAM function, and calls ovn-central to create logical ports, static routes and possible ACL rules. Next, kube-ovn-controller writes the assigned address and subnet information such as CIDR, gateway, route, etc. to the annotation of the Pod. This annotation is then read by kube-ovn-cni and used to configure the local network.


This component runs on each node as a DaemonSet, implements the CNI interface, and operates the local OVS to configure the local network.

This DaemonSet copies the kube-ovn binary to each machine as a tool for interaction between kubelet and kube-ovn-cni. This binary sends the corresponding CNI request to kube-ovn-cni for further operation. The binary will be copied to the /opt/cni/bin directory by default.

kube-ovn-cni will configure the specific network to perform the appropriate traffic operations, and the main tasks including:

  1. Config ovn-controller and vswitchd.
  2. Handle CNI Add/Del requests:
    1. Create or delete veth pair and bind or unbind to OVS ports.
    2. Configure OVS ports
    3. Update host iptables/ipset/route rules.
  3. Dynamically update the network QoS.
  4. Create and configure the ovn0 NIC to connect the container network and the host network.
  5. Configure the host NIC to implement Vlan/Underlay/EIP.
  6. Dynamically config inter-cluster gateways.

Monitoring, Operation and Maintenance Tools and Extension Components

These components provide monitoring, diagnostics, operations tools, and external interface to extend the core network capabilities of Kube-OVN and simplify daily operations and maintenance.


This component is a DaemonSet running on a specific labeled nodes that publish routes to the external, allowing external access to the container directly through the Pod IP.

For more information on how to use it, please refer to BGP Support.


This component is a DaemonSet running on each node to collect OVS status information, node network quality, network latency, etc. The monitoring metrics collected can be found in Metrics.


This component collects OVN status information and the monitoring metrics, all metrics can be found in Metrics.


This component is a kubectl plugin, which can quickly run common operations, for more usage, please refer to [kubectl plugin].(../ops/。

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