Fault management in software-defined networking: A survey

Yinbo Yu, Xing Li, Xue Leng, Libin Song, Kai Bu, Yan Chen, Jianfeng Yang*, Liang Zhang, Kang Cheng, Xin Xiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Software-defined networking (SDN) has emerged as a new network paradigm that promises control/data plane separation and centralized network control. While these features simplify network management and enable innovative networking, they give rise to persistent concerns about reliability. The new paradigm suffers from the disadvantage that various network faults may consistently undermine the reliability of such a network, and such faults are often new and difficult to resolve with existing solutions. To ensure SDN reliability, fault management, which is concerned with detecting, localizing, correcting and preventing faults, has become a key component in SDN networks. Although many SDN fault management solutions have been proposed, we find that they often resolve SDN faults from an incomplete perspective which may result in side effects. More critically, as the SDN paradigm evolves, additional fault types are being exposed. Therefore, comprehensive reviews and constant improvements are required to remain on the leading edge of SDN fault management. In this paper, we present the first comprehensive and systematic survey of SDN faults and related management solutions identified through advancements in both the research community and industry. We apply a systematic classification of SDN faults, compare and analyze existing SDN fault management solutions in the literature, and conduct a gap analysis between solutions developed in an academic research context and practical deployments. The current challenges and emerging trends are also noted as potential future research directions. This paper aims to provide academic researchers and industrial engineers with a comprehensive survey with the hope of advancing SDN and inspiring new solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8456508
Pages (from-to)349-392
Number of pages44
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Fault classification
  • Fault diagnosis
  • Fault recovery and repair
  • Fault tolerance
  • SDN faults
  • SDN reliability
  • Software-defined networking (SDN)
  • System monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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