It is possible to test OVN using both tooling provided with Open vSwitch and using a variety of third party tooling.

Built-in Tooling

OVN provides a number of different test suites and other tooling for validating basic functionality of OVN. Before running any of the tests described here, you must bootstrap, configure and build OVN as described in OVN on Linux, FreeBSD and NetBSD. You do not need to install OVN, Open vSwitch or to build or load the kernel module to run these test suites.You do not need supervisor privilege to run these test suites.

Unit Tests

OVN includes a suite of self-tests. Before you submit patches upstream, we advise that you run the tests and ensure that they pass. If you add new features to OVN, then adding tests for those features will ensure your features don’t break as developers modify other areas of OVN.

To run all the unit tests in OVN, one at a time, run:

$ make check

This takes under 5 minutes on a modern desktop system.

To run all the unit tests in OVN in parallel, run:

$ make check TESTSUITEFLAGS=-j8

You can run up to eight threads. This takes under a minute on a modern 4-core desktop system.

To see a list of all the available tests, run:

$ make check TESTSUITEFLAGS=--list

To run only a subset of tests, e.g. test 123 and tests 477 through 484, run:

$ make check TESTSUITEFLAGS='123 477-484'

Tests do not have inter-dependencies, so you may run any subset.

To run tests matching a keyword, e.g. ovsdb, run:

$ make check TESTSUITEFLAGS='-k ovsdb'

To see a complete list of test options, run:

$ make check TESTSUITEFLAGS=--help

The results of a testing run are reported in tests/testsuite.log. Report report test failures as bugs and include the testsuite.log in your report.


Sometimes a few tests may fail on some runs but not others. This is usually a bug in the testsuite, not a bug in Open vSwitch itself. If you find that a test fails intermittently, please report it, since the developers may not have noticed. You can make the testsuite automatically rerun tests that fail, by adding RECHECK=yes to the make command line, e.g.:

$ make check TESTSUITEFLAGS=-j8 RECHECK=yes


If the build was configured with --enable-coverage and the lcov utility is installed, you can run the testsuite and generate a code coverage report by using the check-lcov target:

$ make check-lcov

All the same options are available via TESTSUITEFLAGS. For example:

$ make check-lcov TESTSUITEFLAGS='-j8 -k ovn'


If you have valgrind installed, you can run the testsuite under valgrind by using the check-valgrind target:

$ make check-valgrind

When you do this, the “valgrind” results for test <N> are reported in files named tests/testsuite.dir/<N>/valgrind.*.

To test the testsuite of kernel datapath under valgrind, you can use the check-kernel-valgrind target and find the “valgrind” results under directory tests/system-kmod-testsuite.dir/.

All the same options are available via TESTSUITEFLAGS.


You may find that the valgrind results are easier to interpret if you put -q in ~/.valgrindrc, since that reduces the amount of output.

Static Code Analysis

Static Analysis is a method of debugging Software by examining code rather than actually executing it. This can be done through ‘scan-build’ commandline utility which internally uses clang (or) gcc to compile the code and also invokes a static analyzer to do the code analysis. At the end of the build, the reports are aggregated in to a common folder and can later be analyzed using ‘scan-view’.

OVN includes a Makefile target to trigger static code analysis:

$ ./boot.sh
$ ./configure CC=clang  # clang
# or
$ ./configure CC=gcc CFLAGS="-std=gnu99"  # gcc
$ make clang-analyze

You should invoke scan-view to view analysis results. The last line of output from clang-analyze will list the command (containing results directory) that you should invoke to view the results on a browser.

Continuous Integration with Travis CI

A .travis.yml file is provided to automatically build OVN with various build configurations and run the testsuite using Travis CI. Builds will be performed with gcc, sparse and clang with the -Werror compiler flag included, therefore the build will fail if a new warning has been introduced.

The CI build is triggered via git push (regardless of the specific branch) or pull request against any Open vSwitch GitHub repository that is linked to travis-ci.

Instructions to setup travis-ci for your GitHub repository:

  1. Go to https://travis-ci.org/ and sign in using your GitHub ID.

  2. Go to the “Repositories” tab and enable the ovs repository. You may disable builds for pushes or pull requests.

  3. In order to avoid forks sending build failures to the upstream mailing list, the notification email recipient is encrypted. If you want to receive email notification for build failures, replace the the encrypted string:

    1. Install the travis-ci CLI (Requires ruby >=2.0): gem install travis

    2. In your Open vSwitch repository: travis encrypt mylist@mydomain.org

    3. Add/replace the notifications section in .travis.yml and fill in the secure string as returned by travis encrypt:

            - secure: "....."


You may remove/omit the notifications section to fall back to default notification behaviour which is to send an email directly to the author and committer of the failing commit. Note that the email is only sent if the author/committer have commit rights for the particular GitHub repository.

  1. Pushing a commit to the repository which breaks the build or the testsuite will now trigger a email sent to mylist@mydomain.org