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ONOS Foundation takes SDN to carrier-scale with Emu release

Automated routing, DPI at scale and so much more for open networking wonks

With twelve months of version iterations behind it, the ONOS Foundation is now declaring itself ready for carrier-scale deployment, following the release of its Emu version.

Speaking to The Register ahead of the launch, ON.Lab VP of engineering Bill Snow said features in Emu like Open Network Function Virtualisation (OPNFV) Layer 3 support, service function chaining, BGP link-state distribution and Yang definitions for Layer 3 VPNs brought the project the production-readiness foreseen a year ago when the first ONOS release landed.

Extensions to routing are a major part of the release, Snow said. As any sysadmin knows, a large-scale routing environment can demand a lot of manual configuration, so cutting that down in Emu has been a major effort.

“Emu has more reactive routing: a new flow comes in, and if there isn't an entry to handle it, the system will discover it, send it to the control plane, and share it,” he explained.

Along with that there's also better handling of default routes advertised by peers, he said.

Snow also pointed to strong community contributions in the latest release. Some of these include:

  • Korea's ETRI has provided deep packet inspection support, in which a small number of flows can be handled “in the box”, or if there's more flows, they can be passed to a special purpose device;
  • To support its own cloud data centre deployments, SK Telecom has worked on “fixing the limitations that can apply to OpenStack”, Snow said, so Emu has much higher performance interfaces to the SDN environment;
  • SK Telecom is also leading the Simplified Overlay Networking Architecture (SONA) to ease deployment of software-defined data centres, he said.

Other important Emu components he cited include a generalised resource reservation system from Fujitsu; improved security modules from KAIST/SRI; and SDN-based multicast (including forwarding, interfaces to prune and join multicast trees) from DirectTV.

ECI Telecom has added Open Networking Foundation optical transport protocol extensions, while ON.Lab has contributed high performance gRPC support for mobile, and a flowrule store that lets flows persist across resets.

An important part of the momentum of SDN, Snow said, is the growing support from the hardware community.

“Up to now, we haven't had the best hardware for OpenFlow. That's changing: a number of vendors are getting much better, and I think with the efforts coming from the Open Compute Project and the Open Networking Foundation, we're going to see distributions that come together more easily,” he said. ®

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