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Open Networking Summit Provides Glimpse into the Software-Defined Future of Networking

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Software-defined networking (or “SDN”) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are exciting areas of innovation in the cloud, hosting, and data center industries because they insert software into networking which had previously been dominated by specialized physical hardware and black-box software.

The 2016 Open Networking Summit (or “ONS”) in Santa Clara, Calif., this week provided a look into the networking innovations that have been freeing networks to be more efficient, cost-effective, flexible and scalable.

These are some of the biggest announcements to come out of ONS 2016:

Open Networking Operating System (ONOS) Membership Grows and Diversifies

Seven organizations joined the Open Networking Operating System (ONOS), a collaborative effort overseen by non-profit ON.Lab aimed at advancing open-source software defined networking (SDN) technology. The latest members bring ONOS to more than 50 members and bring additional diversity to the group’s membership.

Currently, the largest single contributor of code is Huawei which accounts for 19 percent of all commits. Active code contributors also include BTI, CREATE-NET, Ericsson, Fujitsu, ONF, NEC and SK Telecom, as well as more than 250 registered users are making code software updates.

Read more: Enterprise Software Defined Infrastructure Spend to Increase 14.4 Percent in 2016: Report

ONOS Falcon Released and Now Part of OPNFV Brahmaputra

On Monday, ONOS announced the availability of Falcon, the latest release of its open source SDN network operating system for service providers. With this release, ONOS is now a part of the OPNFV distribution Brahmaputra. Since its inception, ONOS has kept a rapid release cadence with releases coming out quarterly.

On the topic of ONOS’s transformation, ON.Lab Engineering VP Bill Snow said, “ONOS has rapidly evolved to become a platform for service providers to monetize SDN and NFV, while helping vendors and service providers alike to create SDN and NFV solutions leveraging open source and invent new business models.”

ONOS Demonstrates Cloud Systems Built from Commodity Building Blocks

ONOS has been pushing forward what it calls the Central Office Re-architected as Data Center (CORD) which uses SDN, NFV, and cloud technologies to create economical cloud computing infrastructure from commodity building blocks. ONOS announced it is developing a new open reference implementation for CORD that builds on merchant silicon, white boxes and open-source platforms such as ONOS, OpenStack, and XOS.

ONOS is also demonstrating use cases for CORD it’s developing for the mobile and residential domains, as well as E-CORD, which adds enterprise services to CORD and enables service providers to offer SDN-WAN, as well as MEF carrier Ethernet services.

ADARA and CALIENT Showcase Solution Combining SDN with advanced packet and optical networking technology

ONS provided an early look at a solution that combines SDN with advanced packet and optical networking technologies to create a low-latency, high-speed optical overlay network.

The CALIENT ADARA SDN-TPOI launched in January through a partnership between cloud computing and SDN software developer ADARA Networks and pure photonic Optical Circuit Switching (OCS) technology provider CALIENT Technologies.

SDN-TPOI is the basis for a real-time cloud computing and networking solution on a over an existing layer 3 routed/IP-MPLS network. This solution won the 2016 Lightwave Innovation Award.

New Version of Open-Source SDN Controller DCfabric is Ready for Download

Version 3.0 of DCfabric V3.0, known as “Zhou”, was released at ONS 2016 and its sourcecode is now available for download from github.

SDN approaches are sometimes limited due to limited support for flow entries and SDN controllers that construct inefficient paths. The DCFabric open-source controller is designed to build efficient flexible networks on commercial OpenFlow switches for OpenStack.

The new DCFabric release supports all the Neurtron network APIs of OpenStack including NAT, floating IP, firewall, security groups, and load balancing.

Cavium’s Cloud Data Centers and NFV Components Illustrate Trend Away from Fixed Function Switching

At ONS 2016, semiconductor provider Cavium showcased several cloud datacenter and NFV technologies including XPliant switches, Workload Optimized ThunderX Cloud RAN ARM v8 COTS server, Liquid IO® NFV Offload NIC cards and OCTEON Fusion-M® Smart Radio Head.

The product suite, which includes programmable SDN switches, speaks to a trend away from fixed function switching. These technologies are designed for seamless virtualization and disaggregation of certain functions for greater scalability and flexibility.

NEC Updates ProgrammableFlow with Enhanced SDN Scalability and Performance Capabilities

On Tuesday, technology integrator NEC released version 6.3 of its ProgrammableFlow Networking Suite, which includes support for packet processing designed to work with low-cost approved network equipment based on Open Compute Project specifications for 10 and 40-gigabit switching.

The new release also provides non-blocking spine-leaf network specifically for data center networks, secure network isolation of data traffic for up to 64,000 virtual networks, scalability of up to 10,000 switches in a federated controller network (2,000 more switches than the previous release), zero-touch network policy provisioning from the NEC ProgrammableFlow Controller, and up to 16 redundant paths for high availability.

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About the Author

David Hamilton is a technology journalist and Contributing Editor of the WHIR. Based in Toronto, David has covered the hosting industry internationally for the WHIR with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. He has written for the National Post and other news outlets, and is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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