Sunday, June 7, 2015

Open SDN and NFV Roundtable With OpenDaylight and OPNFV [feedly]

Open SDN and NFV Roundtable With OpenDaylight and OPNFV
// OpenDaylight blogs

By Chris Buerger, SDN/NFV Marketing, Intel, and Melissa Logan, Head of Marketing, OpenDaylight

The networking industry is moving toward adoption of 'software-defined' infrastructures with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) at its heart. OpenDaylight is leading the path toward the creation of a common SDN platform and ecosystem based on open systems and open source. The Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) project, also hosted by the Linux Foundation, emerged last fall as the industry's open source answer to NFV. Together, they are accelerating the pace of development and deployment by creating communities of people with diverse technical experience, who are passionate about bringing open source to networking, and who are committed to jointly developing innovative software solutions.

As a user, are you curious how you can leverage their work? Which use cases they solve? How you can participate? What lies ahead? As OPNFV debuts its first release "Arno" today, we spoke with its director Heather Kirksey, as well as Margaret Chiosi, OPNFV board president and distinguished engineer, AT&T, and OpenDaylight's executive director Neela Jacques.

We've been hearing about open source coming to networking for the past couple years. What's your take from a user perspective?

Margaret Chiosi: Open source is important to the industry for faster innovation, more robust platforms as well as reducing vendor lock-in on modules which are approaching the commodity stage. OPNFV is the only open forum which allows the industry to perform end-to-end integration of the modular platform for NFV. OpenDaylight, OpenStack, Open vSwitch and KVM are the different open source modules that are used in the platform, but proprietary is also ok. The goal is for the users to be able to customize the platform for their environment composed of open source as well as closed modules.

How has the emergence of open source communities enabled SDN and NFV?

Neela Jacques: What I hear from users every day is that they desperately need one platform around which they can develop their apps and push their vendors to integrate with. Open source is the best way of achieving such a platform because the cost involved in establishing a platform is distributed among the participants, and all the participants then share in the benefits. This includes everything from identifying the needs of the market, developing the code, iterating on architecture, and marketing and awareness.

In ODL, OPNFV and even OpenStack many of the developers are the same but there are thousands more with expertise in their specific areas. Our industry is benefitting from this "network effect". We collaborate on a common platform and ecosystem but it requires users to think differently about the skillsets needed to design and manage future data networks. People with knowledge of these open source technologies become sought after and you're already starting to see the job market pick up on this point. Just like in the early days of Linux coming to servers, it's time for users to start thinking about building skillsets in ODL and OPNFV.

OPNFV is making its inaugural release "Arno" available today. What's the key takeaway for someone who's been following the ETSI NFV conversation and the move toward open source NFV?

Heather Kirksey: With the release of Arno, we've taken our first step in implementing the vision of NFV that ETSI first articulated. Our first release focuses on Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM) and NFVI components in the ETSI architecture, and many of the OPNFV founders were early participants in that work. We hope that this open source implementation that we have begun to build will accelerate the network transformation that NFV promises.

What are the key use cases that these projects will enable?

Chiosi: There are different types of NFV use cases: first, those which drive different customized platform builds – e.g. one may want to use OpenStack/OpenDaylight or another may want Docker/OpenContrail or another may want a specific processor and/or NIC card. Then there are use cases which require redirection of network traffic as a VNF gets instantiated or moves. This influences how Cloud Orchestrators work with SDN Controllers as well as Service Orchestrators.

Jacques: One immediate need that everyone could benefit from is a better way to manage and automate their existing networks, especially across multiple vendor hardware. Longer-term what we hear from users is that the three major areas to be addressed are traffic engineering and flow management, cloud and NFV.

What do you see as the main areas of collaboration between ODL and OPNFV in 2015?

Kirksey: ODL is a key component for our platform and an important upstream community for OPNFV. As people start to use and test Arno, we'll be getting meaningful use case information on how ODL works with OpenStack and ways they can work better together. As our users start to trial and build out PoCs using their own VNFs, I believe we'll get a great deal of targeted insight about how ODL works in these real-world NFV situations. Both OPNFV and ODL want to ensure that our larger community is successful in their shift to more virtual software-defined architectures, so anything that we can do to test, improve, and harden the platform together is in everyone's best interests.

To somebody new to SDN and NFV, what would your guidance be on how to engage with OPNFV and ODL?

Chiosi: Join the conversation by participating. For OPNFV, there are many projects getting created in the Technical Steering Committee. Join a project or create your own project pulling in the users/vendors who will be as passionate in your project. For OpenDaylight, create a project or join a project in the controller space.

Jacques: The OpenDaylight community is one of the most collaborative groups I have ever worked with and is keen to work with like-minded communities like OpenStack and OPNFV. We publish almost everything we do publicly on our wiki and in our discussion lists, and with every new release are investing in initiatives to facilitate this collaboration. As an example we're investing in end user focused technical content for our website, we have an active forum, and we have the OpenDaylight Summit where the industry will be getting together to take training, learn from industry visionaries and to plan their next-generation SDN solutions. We expect over 1,000 people to attend and encourage network operators, architects and admins of all types to join us.

What can users expect next from these open source projects?

Kirksey: No rest for the weary! Now we have to focus on our future releases as well as building out our processes to support us for the future. Things we have on the horizon:

  • Solidifying our integrated development process for future releases.

  • We have community interest in expanding the number of build and deployment tools available.

  • Increasing the choice available in our framework – we needed to make some concrete decisions around hypervisor, cloud orchestration, and SDN controller technologies in Release 1 so that we could meet a reasonable initial release date, but we want to enable a framework that enables additional choices in this area for the future.

  • Working with upstream communities to incorporate carrier grade features that are important to our community such as policy management, resource management, fault management, high availability, data plane acceleration, etc.

  • Increasingly sophisticated testing of the end-to-end platform and of the components that comprise it.

Jacques: The OpenDaylight community has issued two platform releases with the third on its way this month called "Lithium". We've moved to a time-based release schedule so you will see a new release from us roughly every six months. With each one our code is getting stronger, we have better scalability, security, stability and performance built-in, and more apps being built on-top of ODL all the time. If you're evaluating solutions, ask your vendors the hard questions to understand the openness of theirs--this is what will catalyze the industry to adopt a common, interoperable platform that serves your needs.



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