ovs-dpctl [options] command [switch] [args...]


The ovs-dpctl program can create, modify, and delete Open vSwitch datapaths. A single machine may host any number of datapaths.

A newly created datapath is associated with only one network device, a virtual network device sometimes called the datapath's ``local port''. A newly created datapath is not, however, associated with any of the host's other network devices. To intercept and process traffic on a given network device, use the add-if command to explicitly add that network device to the datapath.

If ovs-vswitchd(8) is in use, use ovs-vsctl(8) instead of ovs-dpctl.

Most ovs-dpctl commands that work with datapaths take an argument that specifies the name of the datapath. Datapath names take the form [type@]name, where name is the network device associated with the datapath's local port. If type is given, it specifies the datapath provider of name, otherwise the default provider system is assumed.

The following commands manage datapaths.

add-dp dp [netdev[,option]...]

Creates datapath dp, with a local port also named dp. This will fail if a network device dp already exists.

  • If netdevs are specified, ovs-dpctl adds them to the new datapath, just as if add-if was specified.

del-dp dp

Deletes datapath dp. If dp is associated with any network devices, they are automatically removed.

add-if dp netdev[,option]...

Adds each netdev to the set of network devices datapath dp monitors, where dp is the name of an existing datapath, and netdev is the name of one of the host's network devices, e.g. eth0. Once a network device has been added to a datapath, the datapath has complete ownership of the network device's traffic and the network device appears silent to the rest of the system.

A netdev may be followed by a comma-separated list of options. The following options are currently supported:


Specifies the type of port to add. The default type is system.


Requests a specific port number within the datapath. If this option is not specified then one will be automatically assigned.


Adds an arbitrary key-value option to the port's configuration.

ovs-vswitchd.conf.db(5) documents the available port types and options.

set-if dp port[,option]...

Reconfigures each port in dp as specified. An option of the form key=value adds the specified key-value option to the port or overrides an existing key's value. An option of the form key=, that is, without a value, deletes the key-value named key. The type and port number of a port cannot be changed, so type and port_no are only allowed if they match the existing configuration.

del-if dp netdev...

Removes each netdev from the list of network devices datapath dp monitors.


Prints the name of each configured datapath on a separate line.

[-s | --statistics] show [dp...]

Prints a summary of configured datapaths, including their datapath numbers and a list of ports connected to each datapath. (The local port is identified as port 0.) If -s or --statistics is specified, then packet and byte counters are also printed for each port.

  • The datapath numbers consists of flow stats and mega flow mask stats.

  • The "lookups" row displays three stats related to flow lookup triggered by processing incoming packets in the datapath. "hit" displays number of packets matches existing flows. "missed" displays the number of packets not matching any existing flow and require user space processing. "lost" displays number of packets destined for user space process but subsequently dropped before reaching userspace. The sum of "hit" and "miss" equals to the total number of packets datapath processed.

  • The "flows" row displays the number of flows in datapath.

  • The "masks" row displays the mega flow mask stats. This row is omitted for datapath not implementing mega flow. "hit" displays the total number of masks visited for matching incoming packets. "total" displays number of masks in the datapath. "hit/pkt" displays the average number of masks visited per packet; the ratio between "hit" and total number of packets processed by the datapath".

  • If one or more datapaths are specified, information on only those datapaths are displayed. Otherwise, ovs-dpctl displays information about all configured datapaths.


The following commands are primarily useful for debugging Open vSwitch. The flow table entries (both matches and actions) that they work with are not OpenFlow flow entries. Instead, they are different and considerably simpler flows maintained by the Open vSwitch kernel module. Use ovs-ofctl(8), instead, to work with OpenFlow flow entries.

The dp argument to each of these commands is optional when exactly one datapath exists, in which case that datapath is the default. When multiple datapaths exist, then a datapath name is required.

[-m | --more] dump-flows [dp] [filter=filter]

Prints to the console all flow entries in datapath dp's flow table. Without -m or --more, output omits match fields that a flow wildcards entirely; with -m or --more, output includes all wildcarded fields.

If filter=filter is specified, only displays the flows that match the filter. filter is a flow in the form similiar to that accepted by ovs-ofctl(8)'s add-flow command. (This is not an OpenFlow flow: besides other differences, it never contains wildcards.) The filter is also useful to match wildcarded fields in the datapath flow. As an example, filter='tcp,tp_src=100' will match the datapath flow containing 'tcp(src=80/0xff00,dst=8080/0xff)'.

add-flow [dp] flow actions

Adds or modifies a flow in dp's flow table that, when a packet matching flow arrives, causes actions to be executed.

The add-flow command succeeds only if flow does not already exist in dp. Contrariwise, mod-flow without --may-create only modifies the actions for an existing flow. With --may-create, mod-flow will add a new flow or modify an existing one.

If -s or --statistics is specified, then mod-flows prints the modified flow's statistics. A flow's statistics are the number of packets and bytes that have passed through the flow, the elapsed time since the flow last processed a packet (if ever), and (for TCP flows) the union of the TCP flags processed through the flow.

With --clear, mod-flows zeros out the flow's statistics. The statistics printed if -s or --statistics is also specified are those from just before clearing the statistics.

[-s | --statistics] del-flow [dp] flow

Deletes the flow from dp's flow table that matches flow. If -s or --statistics is specified, then mod-flows prints the deleted flow's statistics.

del-flows [dp]

Deletes all flow entries from datapath dp's flow table.



Causes the show command to print packet and byte counters for each port within the datapaths that it shows.


Increases the verbosity of dump-flows output.


Limits ovs-dpctl runtime to approximately secs seconds. If the timeout expires, ovs-dpctl will exit with a SIGALRM signal.


Sets logging levels. Without any spec, sets the log level for every module and facility to dbg. Otherwise, spec is a list of words separated by spaces or commas or colons, up to one from each category below:


A valid module name, as displayed by the vlog/list command on ovs-appctl(8), limits the log level change to the specified module.


syslog, console, or file, to limit the log level change to only to the system log, to the console, or to a file, respectively.

On Windows platform, syslog is accepted as a word and is only useful along with the --syslog-target option (the word has no effect otherwise).


off, emer, err, warn, info, or dbg, to control the log level. Messages of the given severity or higher will be logged, and messages of lower severity will be filtered out. off filters out all messages. See ovs-appctl(8) for a definition of each log level.

Case is not significant within spec.

Regardless of the log levels set for file, logging to a file will not take place unless --log-file is also specified (see below).

For compatibility with older versions of OVS, any is accepted as a word but has no effect.


Sets the maximum logging verbosity level, equivalent to --verbose=dbg.


Sets the log pattern for facility to pattern. Refer to ovs-appctl(8) for a description of the valid syntax for pattern.


Enables logging to a file. If file is specified, then it is used as the exact name for the log file. The default log file name used if file is omitted is /var/log/openvswitch/\*(PN.log.


Send syslog messages to UDP port on host, in addition to the system syslog. The host must be a numerical IP address, not a hostname.


Prints a brief help message to the console.


Prints version information to the console.

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