ODL Gains Momentum with Lithium and ONF Gains Deployments with ONOS

Glenn Hunt
Glenn Hunt

Summary Bullets:

  • ODL’s third release (Lithium) appears to close the gaps from earlier versions, such as testing, performance, native support of OpenStack Neutron and broader community participation.
  • ONOS logs its first commercial/production deployment since its release in December 2014. It should mark the beginning of many more, as it touts the carrier-grade characteristics needed to run live traffic.

Why is the OpenDaylight (ODL) Lithium release (its third) an important step in the evolution of the controller? Although the details are many, several features stand out as being important for adoption in a service provider environment. These features include support for: quality of service data, because RestAPIs are more robust in the data identification process; service chaining, to provide the infrastructure needed to provision a service chain and provide the end-user application for defining it; rigorous testing, to characterize multiple use cases to help boost scalability and performance; and better support of security and automation, because with most network functions going virtual, the need for a security architecture becomes more critical, and the ability to automate functions to minimize human errors and improve productivity helps operators reduce the risk of security breaches while reducing overall operational expenses.

On June 21, 2015, Internet2 and the Open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) community announced that they had deployed ONOS on Internet2’s nationwide research and education (R&E) network. ONOS was developed to fill in the gaps, such as high availability and performance, found with non-carrier-grade solutions. Although it demonstrates the first deployment, and establishes a friendly environment from which to continue to learn best practices and iron out glitches associated with SDN control, OpenFlow switches and traditional IP routers, there is much to accomplish before the solution makes its way into a production service provider environment. However, success appears highly plausible as vendors leverage the software, and operators are convinced that the solution can stand up to the punishment dealt by commercial traffic. For additional analysis of ONOS Release 1, please see ONOS Makes Its Way Out of the Lab and Into Production, Providing Much-Needed Visibility and Validation.

Multiple operators (AT&T and Intracom Telecom, for example) have openly endorsed open source software for use in their next-generation networks in order to leverage the strength of a broader development community and to reduce the time to market for new services and network capabilities. With the Lithium release of ODL and release 1 of ONOS, service providers now have a solid platform on which to base their new services. Although the current releases will not be the last, the open source community appears to be well positioned for future successes.

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