Ciena’s Blue Planet division today says it will offer a commercial version of the Open Network Operating System (ONOS) and that the code “fills a gap” in its offerings where it previously had to use third parties such as Juniper Networks and Nuage Networks.
Ciena will time the offering for 30 days after the next code release of ONOS — Falcon, which is to be unleashed sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
ONOS targets its software specifically for service providers, and it is working with operators such as AT&T, NTT, and SK Telecom. But this is the first time a vendor will create a hardened version of ONOS’s software.
“Generally, if you’re a service provider looking to deploy, you look to someone to back the software in order to be ready for a commercial deployment,” says Joe Cumello, VP of marketing with the Blue Planet Division of Ciena. “You need one neck to grab if something goes wrong.”
Customers are especially interested in the Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center (CORD) work of ONOS, Cumello says. AT&T is on record as being involved in the CORD project. But Cumello says a number of other service providers have expressed interest in CORD as well. “We don’t have a deal with AT&T,” he says.
CORD is designed to disaggregate the residential and small to midsized business part of the central office. The software takes traffic from disparate technologies, such as DSL, GPON, and HFC cable, and converts it into Ethernet packets. Then, the packet switching that needs to be done at the central office can be moved onto commodity hardware and controlled by one operating system: In this case, it’s ONOS.
What was once a central office is now a data center architecture. And that architecture can handle virtual network functions (VNFs).
Fills a Gap
“This really fills an excellent strategic position for us in Blue Planet, because we have an NFV orchestrator and an SDN controller and a service orchestrator,” says Cumello. “But when it comes to controlling white box switches, we did not have that kind of controller. We would have to interface with Nuage or [Juniper’s] Contrail, or another third-party controller. By working with ONOS, we’re effectively filling in that gap.”
Any changes Ciena makes to the ONOS software, it will re-submit to the open source community, so the group can incorporate those changes in its next code release if it wants to. “We have no intention to fork,” says Cumello.