Comcast and Lenovo have thrown their hats into the OpenDaylight Project, an open source collaboration between many of the industry’s major networking incumbents on the core architectures enabling software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV).
The recent additions bring the OpenDaylight project, a Linux Foundation Colalborative Project, to just over the fifty member mark. The community is developing an open source SDN architecture and software (Helium) that supports a wide range of protocols including OpenFlow, the southbound protocol around which most vendors have consolidated.
“We’re seeing more end users starting to adopt OpenDaylight and participate in its development as the community sharpens its focus on stability, scalability, security and performance,” said Neela Jacques, executive director, OpenDaylight.
“Comcast has been testing ODL and working with our community since launch and the team at Lenovo were heavily involved in ODL’s foundation through their roots at IBM. Our members see the long-term value of creating a rich ecosystem around open systems and OpenDaylight,” Jacques said.
Igor Marty, chief technology officer, Lenovo Worldwide SDN and NFV said: “We believe that the open approach is the faster way to deploy solutions, and what we’ve seen OpenDaylight achieve in just two years has been impressive. The OpenDaylight community is truly leading the path toward interoperability by integrating legacy and emerging southbound protocols and defining northbound APIs for orchestration.”
The move will no doubt give the project more credibility in both carrier and enterprise segments.
Since Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s low-end x86 server unit it has been pushing heavily to establish itself as a serious player among global enterprises, where open standards continue to gain favour when it comes to pretty much every layer of the technology stack.
Comcast is also placing SDN at the core of its long-term network strategy and has already partnered with CableLabs, a non-profit R&D outfit investigating technology innovation and jointly owned by operators globally, on developing southbound plugins for OpenDaylight’s architecture.
“Like many service providers, Comcast is motivated to reduce the operational complexity of our networks. In the near-term this involves significant improvements to network automation under what we call our Programmable Network Platform. This framework outlines a stack of behaviors and abstraction layers that software uses to interact with the network,” explained Chris Luke, senior principal engineer, Comcast and OpenDaylight Advisory Group member.
“Some of our key objectives are to simplify the handoffs from the OSS/BSS systems, empower engineers to rapidly develop and deploy new services and to improve the operational support model. It is our hope that by harmonizing on a common framework and useful abstractions, more application groups within the company will be able to make use of better intelligence and more easily interact with the network.”
Luke said the company already has several proof-of-concepts in place, including an app that provides network intelligence abstraction in a way that allows it to treat its internal network like a highly elastic CDN, and mechanisms to integrate overlay edge services with legacy network architectures like MPLS.
“When ODL was launched we were excited to see that the industry was moving to a supportable open source model for SDN. There were a growing number of proprietary SDN controllers at the time and that had service providers like us questioning the direction of the market and whether it made sense to us. We were pleased to see an open source platform come forward aiming to provide a neutral playing field with support for more than just OpenFlow.”