HP VAN SDN Controller – Wireshark install and configuration



The HP SDN VAN Controller runs on the Ubuntu operating system. It is thus important for HP network engineers to know basic Ubuntu commands for installing and configuring the HP Controller.

Here are some basic commands that engineers may find useful.

Note: Commands in the output below are in bold and highlighted in yellow.

Install Wireshark on the HP VAN SDN Controller:

To install Wireshark on the HP SDN Controller, do the following:

1. Install git:

$ sudo apt-get install git

2. To install Wireshark, do the following:

$ cd ~sudo apt-get update
$ sudo git clone https://github.com/mininet/mininet 
$ sudo mininet/util/install.sh €“w

Display Wireshark output using Xterm:

As the HP SDN Controller needs to be installed on a Ubuntu server, there is no GUI interface by default. It is also recommend that no GUI be installed.>

This becomes an issue if GUI based applications such as WireShark are used. Xterm provides a solution by allowing you to run Wireshark on the Controller Ubuntu server, but display the output on another machine such as Ubuntu desktop. Xterm provides this by allowing you to run software on a remote machine and then display the GUI locally. This has been available in Unix for many years.

Both Mac OS and Linux support xterm. This can also be done on Windows by using Putty.

On the SDN controller, ensure that xterm has been installed:

sdn@sdnctl:~$ sudo apt-get install xterm
	Reading package lists... Done
	Building dependency tree
	Reading state information... Done
	xterm is already the newest version.
	0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 101 not upgraded.

Xterm on Ubuntu/Linux:

To use xterm on a Linux machine such as Ubuntu desktop, do the following (IP address used here is the SDN Controller):

$ ssh -X

Note: The “X” is upper case.

Start Wireshark on the SDN controller (“&” means start as a background process):

$ sudo wireshark &

Wireshark will now display on the Ubuntu desktop:

Image [16]

Xterm on MAC OS:

To find out if X11 is installed, type x11 in Spotlight and click X11:

Image [15]

I am using Mavericks, which does not have X11 installed:

Image [14]

Click Continue:

Image [13]

Download from the XQuartz website:


Install the application:

Install XQuartz on Apple Mac

Log out of your Mac and then log back in.

Now SSH to the Controller using xTerm:>

MacBook-Pro:~ davidbombal$ ssh -X

Note: The “X” is upper case.>

Start Wireshark on the SDN controller (“&” means start as a background process):

sudo wireshark &

Wireshark will now display on the Mac desktop:

Wireshark on Mac

Xterm on Windows:

Firstly, download Xming X Server from the following link:


Install the Xming server and start it. A “X” icon should display on your taskbar.

About window of Xming:

How to get Xterm working on Microsoft Windows

To use XTerm, download putty and then make the following changes. Within Putty, Select Connection / SSH / X11 and then enable the checkbox “Enable X11 forwarding”:

Xterm settings on Putty

Then, open a SSH session to the HP SDN Controller:

Xterm settings on Putty ssh

Start Wireshark on the SDN controller (“&” means start as a background process)

sudo wireshark &

Wireshark will now display on the Windows desktop.

Click OK on the warning message:

Wireshark ubuntu windows

Within Wireshark, select “Capture” and then “Interfaces”:

Wireshark interface selection

Select “Start” on the appropriate interface. In this case, because Mininet is being used, the “lo” interface is selected:

Wireshark interface selection

To see OpenFlow messages, enter “of” into the filter field:

OpenFlow filter on Wireshark

If the HP SDN Controller is connected to a real network, OpenFlow messages will display. In this example, I am going to start Mininet to view the messages:

sdn@sdnctl:~$ sudo mn --topo=linear,4 --controller=remote
	[sudo] password for sdn:
	*** Creating network
	*** Adding controller
	Unable to contact the remote controller at
	*** Adding hosts:
	h1 h2 h3 h4
	*** Adding switches:
	s1 s2 s3 s4
	*** Adding links:
	(h1, s1) (h2, s2) (h3, s3) (h4, s4) (s1, s2) (s2, s3) (s3, s4)
	*** Configuring hosts
	h1 h2 h3 h4
	*** Starting controller
	*** Starting 4 switches
	s1 s2 s3 s4
	*** Starting CLI:

Output such as the following will display within Wireshark:

OpenFlow Wireshark Windows

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About :

These days I am involved in some exciting SDN and OpenFlow projects involving the HP VAN SDN Controller, HP ProVision and HP Comware switches. These new developments in the networking world combine my passions of networking and application development. I hope to write some interesting blog entries on these exiting topics. I am both a Cisco CCIE #11023 and HP MASE as well as a Cisco Certified Systems Instructor (CCSI #22787) and Certified HP Instructor. I have been training networking courses for well over 10 years teaching on a wide range of topics including routing and switching, VoIP, OpenFlow and SDN. I have delivered instructor led courses all over the world. I started working with Cisco Unified Communications Manager when it was still called Cisco Call Manager and have been deploying, troubleshooting and teaching Unified Communications products since version 3.0. I have developed various network utilities such as the VPN Config Generator and others to help engineers in their day to day jobs. I also develop software, training materials, EBooks, videos and other products which are used throughout the world. I have designed, implemented and managed networks ranging from single sites to those that span 50 countries.

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