DENVER — In a meeting at the SCTE-ISBE Cable Tec Expo show yesterday, Randy Levensalor, lead architect at CableLabs involved with the group’s software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) work, mentioned that CableLabs is planning to announce an open source group soon. He didn’t provide any further detail other than to say CableLabs will be making an announcement in about a month.
We can speculate that it relates to CableLabs’ SNAPS initiative. SNAPS stands for “SDN/NFV Application development Platform and Stack.” The key objectives for SNAPS are to make it easier for NFV vendors to onboard their applications and to reduce the complexity of integration testing. The initiative attempts to accelerate the adoption of network virtualization, wrote Levensalor in a recent blog posting.
SNAPS is based on an OpenStack foundation, using OpenStack code directly, rather than a vendor distribution. “We wanted something that is truly vendor agnostic,” said Levensalor. “We support Kubernetes and containers on top. It uses Open vSwitch and DPDK [Data Plane Development Kit].” SNAPS is also involved with the open source group OPNFV.
The SNAPS work is “a virtualized service core,” and he added, “We’re looking beyond cable.”
Levensalor — along with his CableLabs’ colleagues Don Clarke, principal architect of network technologies, and Tetsuya Nakamura, principal systems architect of network technologies — lead the group’s work on network virtualization. Although they work for a cable membership organization, their work is not limited to just the cable industry. When CableLabs published a white paper earlier this year about NFV and 5G, Nakamura stressed that 5G would include both fixed and mobile networks based on NFV and SDN.
Other CableLabs’ team members working on NFV and SDN are Mark Bridges, VP of software, and architect Steven Pisarski.
CableLabs is also working with its wholly-owned subsidiary Kyrio, which has set up an NFV Interoperability Lab at CableLabs’ headquarters in Broomfield, Colorado. Robin Ku, director of the Kyrio Interop Lab said it’s already conducted some tests with vendors including Amdocs and Casa Systems. “SNAPS is sort of the reference architecture to do these demos,” said Ku.
Meanwhile, Amdocs is also heavily involved with the Linux Foundation’s open source group, ONAP. Asked about CableLabs’ perspective on ONAP, Levensalor said, “We’ve attended some of the ONAP meetings. We’d like to see ONAP be more modular. It’s not consumable unless you take all of it.”
Cable and SD-WAN
Levensalor said that as far as CableLabs’ cable operator members go, they are all interested in software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). “Our members are implementing SD-WAN and managed router and initial virtualized offerings. SD-WAN is really the big one they’re all trying out.”
He added, “They each tend to use a separate SD-WAN device to connect to DOCSIS or fiber. They’re going with off-the-shelf solutions.”