ONOS, ONF team for white box and open source leaf-spine data center fabric

The ONOS Project has unveiled a leaf-spine fabric for data centers and service provider central offices based on the group's open source software-defined networking (SDN) operating system (see "ON.Lab, backed by AT&T and NTT, offers open source SDN operating system"). The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) collaborated on the creation of the fabric, which the two tout as the first Layer 2/Layer 3 leaf-spine fabric on bare-metal ("white box") switching hardware built with SDN principles and open source software.

The ONOS Project has unveiled a leaf-spine fabric for data centers and service provider central offices based on the group's open source software-defined networking (SDN) operating system (see "ON.Lab, backed by AT&T and NTT, offers open source SDN operating system"). The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) collaborated on the creation of the fabric, which the two tout as the first Layer 2/Layer 3 leaf-spine fabric on bare-metal ("white box") switching hardware built with SDN principles and open source software.

The collaborators built the fabric on Edgecore bare-metal hardware from the Open Compute Project (OCP) and switch software, including OCP's Open Network Linux and Broadcom's OpenFlow Data Plane Abstraction (OF-DPA) API. The ONF's Atrium and SPRING-OPEN projects that implemented segment-routed networks using SDN served as a foundation for the fabric.

Leaf-spine fabric technology is growing in popularity among enterprises and service providers. In fact, field tests the fabric has begun as part of the Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) initiative from ON.Lab, one of the ONOS Project's founders (see "AT&T, ON.Lab to lead CORD proof-of-concept demonstration").

"In the past, the promise of SDN has fallen short in delivering HA [high availability], scale, and performance," asserted Saurav Das, principal architect at the ONF. "The fabric control application design, together with ONOS, and the full use of modern merchant silicon ASICs solve all of these problems. In addition, the use of SDN affords a high degree of customizability for rapidly introducing newer features in the fabric. CORD's usage of the fabric is an excellent example of such customization."

Besides bridging and routing, new features within the fabric include:

  • Support of HA and scale via a multi-instance ONOS controller cluster (previous work was with a single-controller)
  • Integration with vRouter for interfacing with traditional networks using BGP and/or OSPF
  • Integration with CORD's vOLT for residential access network support
  • Support for IPv4 Multicast forwarding for residential IPTV streams in CORD
  • Integration with CORD's XOS-based orchestration framework.

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