SDxCentral recently released the 2015 SDxCentral SDN Controller Report, and to expand upon the report’s findings, Brocade held a webinar to discuss the current state of SDN Controllers, as well as what’s up next for the OpenDaylight Project. The webinar went into what the software release Lithium accomplished, and what can be expected in the upcoming release, Beryllium. Presenters Colin Dixon and Lisa Caywood of Brocade also illustrated how Brocade works with the OpenDaylight community to provide commercial distributions and applications that encourage open source offerings. After the live presentation, our presenters — including SDxCentral co-founder Roy Chua — took questions from the audience.
Could you please elaborate on “ODL friendly?” Does it mean applications written on top of ODL work with these controllers?
SDxCentral: It means that the companies are contributing some of their code and developers to the ODL efforts. And in some cases, use ODL components in their products. However, they are not shipping products based on the ODL distribution, but instead shipping their own proprietary products.
How is ODL different from ONOS?
Brocade: OpenDaylight is a consortium of about 50 different companies including network vendors, application providers, service providers and the like building a general-purpose controller to address a wide range of networking issues. ONOS is a project housed inside ON.Lab which currently focuses on OpenFlow use cases (although they are starting to provide support for NETCONF) mainly targeted at the service provider market. Some members are active in both communities.
Brocade: In general, this is something that’s handled more by vendors and support contracts than in OpenDaylight itself, but yes, we are looking at that at Brocade as are other vendors.
Is there a stable release of ODL with cluster?
Brocade: Yes. Both Helium and Lithium have stable clustering for the MD-SAL-based applications. Some of the applications in OpenDaylight have yet to migrate to using these though.
AT&T’s Domain 2.0 is ONUS based. How is OpenDaylight functioning in AT&T?
Brocade: Domain 2.0 is broad effort including many different competing options for different functions. OpenDaylight is acting as the “global controller” in AT&T’s Domain 2.0 initiative. You can see more in their keynote at the ODL summit here.
Is ODL tested only on X86 platform? Any update on whether it is tried out on ARM?
Brocade: I’ve seen people run OpenDaylight on Raspberry Pi.
Is AT&T deploying ODL CPE, or is it more for core MPLS control?
Brocade: At the moment, my understanding is that there is more interest in the CPE because that’s where there is more value in terms of monetization of service delivery.
Brocade: In my mind, if OpenDaylight is successful, it will be to the network what Linux is to the PC.
How does Brocade support its customers when they encounter bugs in main ODL code? How timely would it be, since you wait for patches from ODL?
Brocade: We deliver patches as quickly as is needed. If truly needed, we will ship to a specific customer before we merge them upstream. But we at least make sure the patches are merged, if not released before shipping patches to end users. We prefer waiting for releases over pushing before merge, though.
What are good starting points — URLs or resources — if we want to get started “the right way?”
How much testing and QA resources should we expect to have to invest to build out a commercial solution?
Brocade: If you’re starting with OpenDaylight without a vendor providing support, definitely more than you would in a formal product. If you’re buying an OpenDaylight-based controller from a vendor, like Brocade, then expect similar QA to what you’d expect from a traditional commercial product.
This means these ODL-friendly ODL controllers don’t interwork with ODL-based controllers. Is this correct?
Brocade: Not necessarily. It depends on what you mean by “interwork.” Will they cluster together? Probably unlikely, but networks built with two different controllers can pass traffic back and forth, and many of these controllers speak OpenFlow, so you can use OpenFlow-compatible switches with these controllers. Also, you can use their northbound APIs to build applications that span multiple controllers. Finally, since there’s limited controller to controller federation efforts to date, they will probably not work with each other, but that could change over time.
Would OpenDaylight core development have performance (of control plane) as a principle? I ask this considering that the engine is built over a JVM for portability benefits, but it does make it heavy.
Brocade: We’re pretty pleased with the performance of OpenDaylight, but there’s always room for improvement. We currently can program OpenFlow and perform NETCONF operations hundreds of thousands of times per second. The exact peformance varies depending on clustering, available memory, cores, and CPU speeds.
Does ODL OVSDB netvirt use MD-SAL-based Neutron NB?
Brocade: Not yet, but it’s being done right now. It will in Beryllium and may also use it in later releases of Lithium.
You have shown OpenFlow as Gen 1 open source controller. Do you mean OpenFlow is dead or dying and getting replaced by alternatives?
Brocade: Not at all. However, OpenFlow-only controllers have limited scope and most newer SDN controllers support a wider range of southbound protocols than just OpenFlow. OVSDB, NETCONF, PCEP, and LISP are good examples.
Is there something like an app-store concept to add functions to the controller or add “higher”layer applications?
Brocade: Not at this time, but it has been discussed. For right now, with OpenDaylight you can use the Karaf command line to add appropriately-packaged new OSGi bundles and/or Karaf features. The Brocade SDN Controller has been independently tested by several third-parties for use with their SDN applications. Your Brocade account team can make referrals for your specific use case, but at present these applications are not supported by Brocade.
What does IoT support mean in Lithium?
Brocade: In Lithium, it’s support for the OneM2M and CoAP. More information can be found here.
What was the need for Brocade to have their own release of ODL? Are there any extensions done to ODL by Brocade?
Brocade: Brocade ships a core controller (which is a fully tested subset of OpenDaylight) and separate extensions/applications which run on top of it. Users are typically interested in the options that open source gives them, but ultimately want complete documentation, support, and so on, comparable to what they get with traditional commercial products.