OpenFlow 1.3 support is going to be a recurring theme throughout 2014 and should get lots of play as the Open Networking Summit (ONS) starts today. Brocade got a jump on that rush by announcing its OpenFlow 1.3 support early this morning.
In implementing parts of OpenFlow 1.3 on all its routers and switches (including the MLXe routers and ICX and VDX switches), Brocade joins NEC, the first vendor to announce OpenFlow 1.3 equipment, in the soon-to-be-huge 1.3 club.
The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has declared OpenFlow 1.3 to be a baseline, a stable point that will be supported in the rest of the 1.x versions. This came about because OpenFlow 1.2 required hardware changes — the sizes of table entries changed — and users wanted the OpenFlow standard to slow down so that such major changes wouldn’t happen so often.
For that reason, Brocade and many other vendors never implemented OpenFlow 1.1 or 1.2. The general trend is to jump from OpenFlow 1.0 support straight to version 1.3, and we’re likely to see many more proclamations of OpenFlow 1.3 support during the year.
OpenFlow 1.3 support is going to be uneven among vendors, because they don’t have to implement all of the available features. Brocade’s MLXe routers will support:
- Q-in-Q tunneling, which enables more VLANs.
- Port groups, which allow for link aggregation (LAG).
- Quality-of-service (QoS) levels and metering.
- Redundant controllers, in an active/standby mode. Brocade will also support active/active mode eventually, but it’s not available just yet.
One of the big-ticket items in OpenFlow 1.3 is the support of multiple flow tables, which makes it easier to run OpenFlow at a larger scale. Brocade isn’t supporting that in this first OpenFlow 1.3 release, but it’s on the way, says Daniel Williams, Brocade’s director of product marketing for data-center and service-provider routing.
One thing Brocade offers that’s not part of the OpenFlow standard is hybrid port capability. Any port on the router or switch can be configured to run OpenFlow, traditional switching, or both. (Brocade previously had this capability on a per-system basis; now it’s down to the port level.)
Taking OpenFlow to SDN Idol
Elsewhere at ONS, Brocade made it to the SDN Idol finals with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) security scenario. where the MLXe router monitors flows in and out of a data center, using the sFlow protocol to monitor traffic in real time. SFlow can send characteristics of each flow to a DDoS analyzer, which can then black-hole anything suspicious.
(You’ll recall SDNCentral’s Matt Palmer and Roy Chua hosted last year’s SDN Idol, which focused on product pitches. This year’s version, being held today from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., focuses on live product demonstrations.)
Since we’ve brought up the subject, the other SDN Idol finalists are: