ONOS Blackbird release improves SDN control plane performance and scale

The ONOS Project, part of the Open Networking Lab's (ON.Lab's) effort to create an open source software-defined networking (SDN) operating system, has announced the Blackbird release of its Open Network Operating System (ONOS). The second ONOS release, Blackbird improves the platform's ability to support high performance, scale, and availability. In particular, it offers metrics designed to enable evaluation of the "carrier-grade quotient" of SDN control plane platforms/controllers.

The ONOS Project, part of the Open Networking Lab's (ON.Lab's) effort to create an open source software-defined networking (SDN) operating system, has announced the Blackbird release of its Open Network Operating System (ONOS). The second ONOS release, Blackbird improves the platform's ability to support high performance, scale, and availability. In particular, it offers metrics designed to enable evaluation of the "carrier-grade quotient" of SDN control plane platforms/controllers.

ONOS is architected as a distributed but logically centralized control plane. It has been endorsed by a variety of network operators, including AT&T (see "ON.Lab, backed by AT&T and NTT, offers open source SDN operating system"), in part because of its support for high availability. Such characteristics include full recovery from events such as switch and link failure, node failure, entire ONOS cluster failure, single-node cluster failure, cluster partitioning, and device-node communication failure.

The metrics capabilities of Blackbird exceed those found in other approaches such as Cbench, the ONOS Project asserts. The metrics include:

  • topology – link change latency
  • topology – switch change latency
  • flow operations throughput
  • intent (northbound) install latency
  • intent (northbound) withdraw latency
  • intent (northbound) reroute latency
  • intent (northbound) throughput.

"As service providers start deploying SDN solutions not only in their labs but also to control and manage their carrier-scale networks, high performance, scalability, and resilience become key architectural requirements for these solutions," said Prajakta Joshi, director of products for the ONOS Project. "Carrier-grade SDN platforms and solutions need to demonstrate these attributes and measure and qualify them with effective metrics."

The developers target ONOS to achieve 1 million flow operations per second and less than 100 ms (and ideally under 10 ms) of latency. The project reports that most of ONOS Blackbird's measurements meet these targets; the others will be optimized in future releases and in conjunction with use case and deployment requirements, the developers promise.

"Achieving the high availability required to deliver network resilience at the necessary scale without compromising performance as you add controller instances has been an elusive goal for open source SDN solutions and a barrier to adoption—until now," asserted Guru Parulkar, executive director for ON.Lab. "Architected as a distributed system, ONOS is the first open source SDN solution to achieve linear scale-out while maintaining high performance and availability. As the size of your network grows, ONOS instances can be added to scale the SDN control plane, and seamlessly deliver the needed throughput. This ability not only breaks down barriers to real-world deployment but also future-proofs your network."

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