OpenDaylight's Hydrogen begets Helium begets Lithium

Release three of SDN tool aims for carrier-land


The OpenDaylight Foundation has announced what you could think of as its carrier-grade release, Lithium.

Lithium follows (naturally enough) the Hydrogen and Helium releases, and covers security, automation, interoperability, scalability, and a bunch of new protocols.

The new capabilities have a distinct telco flavour about them, with the foundation's canned statement highlighting service function chaining (SFC) and network function virtualisation (NFV) as key Lithium capabilities.

Both of these are highlighted by ETSI as important telco use-cases for software-defined networks. Instead of a function being tied to particular hardware, in NFV it's written into software to run as on a virtual machine.

That gets interesting with service chaining, because with it lets the service provider use business rules to create services. The content store doesn't have to know whether it's delivering video to a Smart TV or a smartphone. It just drops the content onto the wire, and the SDN controller chains together the necessary virtual machines to format the content for different users.

Lithium also adds native support for OpenStack's Neutron framework (an API for building virtual network topologies). There's also support for virtual tenants and group-based policy.

For better security, there's the Unified Secure Channel to handle controller-hardware communications. Network activity is collected by a Time Series Data Repository, and Device Identification and Driver Management lets the controller go looking for various legacy platforms in the infrastructure.

Other new features include Persistence (preserving application-specific data if something crashes), and a Topology Processing Framework (filtering and aggregating network views).

The protocols added to OpenDaylight include:

  • Source Group Tag Exchange (SXP) – a Cisco-authored control plane protocol;
  • Link Aggregation Protocol (LACP) – binding multiple physical ports into a single logical channel;
  • And SNMP plugin, the OpFlex policy framework, CAPWAP for wireless access point control, and the IoT data management protocol.

The OpenDaylight Foundation reckons Lithium will turn up in around 20 commercial solutions, as well as the Open Platform for NFV project. ®


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