OIF, ONF reveal vendor participants in SDN interoperability demo

Having already revealed the carrier roster for their ongoing software-defined networking (SDN) interoperability exercise, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) have now released the names of the systems houses that will supply SDN-friendly transport equipment.

Having already revealed the carrier roster for their ongoing software-defined networking (SDN) interoperability exercise, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) have now released the names of the systems houses that will supply SDN-friendly transport equipment.

The vendor list includes ADVA Optical Networking, Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Coriant, Fiberhome, Fujitsu, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., NEC Corp. of America, and ZTE. China Mobile, China Telecom, TELUS, and Verizon are hosting the optical transport systems in their labs. At least some vendors have equipment in multiple labs.

Interoperability exercises have already begun and are expected to be completed by the end of the month, ahead of public reenactments and "read outs" in October. These showings include invitation-only read out at Verizon’s facility in Waltham October 7 and at a China Telecom facility in Beijing October 27, as well as a more public demonstration for attendees of Layer123"s SDN and OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany October 15. A whitepaper describing the results also will be produced.

The interoperability demos aim to show both interoperability as well as the effectiveness of OIF and ONF SDN-related specifications work. These efforts include ONF-prototyped OpenFlow extensions that are being tested in both CDPI and CVNI forms. The OIF contributions include prototype controller northbound interfaces for service request and topology functions.

Participating vendors have begun to release details of their demo activities after the OIF and ONF made their announcement this morning. For example, ADVA Optical Networking revealed that it will show off a prototype SDN network hypervisor that will provide northbound interfaces to its FSP 3000 platform. The hypervisor enables access to abstractions of the FSP 3000's optical transport capabilities for control and provisioning, according to Jim Theodoras, senior director of technical marketing at ADVA Optical Networking. The open-software-based hypervisor is designed to work with a variety of SDN controllers, including but not limited to OpenFlow and Open Daylight. Theodoras said that the network hypervisor is working with three different SDN controllers in the OIF/ONF demo and closely follows the OIF/ONF principles the interop is highlighting. ADVA's equipment is stationed in multiple labs within the demo, he added.

Theodoras expects the network hypervisor to be commercially available by the end of the year.

Who’s missing
An OIF source said that the two organizations opened participation in the demo to all of their member companies. Companies that could provide the necessary equipment and signaled their interest by the May 9, 2014 deadline made the demo roster. While the list of demo participants offers a significant cross section of optical communications companies active in SDN, some systems houses with SDN track records were noticeable by their absence.

One of these is ONF member Cyan, which has developed the Blue Planet SDN platform currently in operation in customer networks. It also has been engaged in several trials and demonstrations, including one with CenturyLink and another with Telefonica (see "Certes Networks explores virtualized security" and "NFV architecture target of Telefónica, Cyan, Red Hat partnership").

"We’re highly focused on customer trials and engagements right now, so we have to pick-and-choose where we demo our technology," wrote Joe Cumello, Cyan’s chief marketing officer, in an email to Lightwave.

"We have been following these developments, but optical is just one layer in the network," he added in describing his view of the OIF/ONF demo. "Cyan is devoted to multi-layer network automation and software control using standards-based interfaces as that’s how service providers tell us they want to operate their networks. Because Blue Planet is an open controller, there’s no reason it could not or would not interact with other standards-based controllers if/when required. So we welcome this effort and would incorporate it if customers asked."

Infinera, which has conducted several SDN trials of its own (see "Telefonica I+D, Infinera demo SDN-based Network-as-a-Service capabilities" and "Infinera, Brocade demo multilayer optimization via SDN with ESnet") and belongs to both the OIF and ONF, also decided to devote its resources elsewhere. "This fall Infinera is focusing on our Insight Infinera event on the 18th of September and we decided not to participate in this round of pre-standards testing,” wrote Infinera’s director of marketing communications activities, Mark Showalter, in an email, referencing a media/analyst event at which the company is widely expected to unveil a new product. "Infinera remains supportive of these standardization efforts and we will consider future rounds of interoperability demonstrations once the dust settles."

Cisco, a driving force behind OpenDaylight, also might have other fish to fry. The company announced today an SDN/NFV collaboration with Telefonica aimed at converged IP/optical networks (see "Telefonica links with Cisco for SDN/NFV in converged IP/optical networks").

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