CloudRouter got its start in March, so the project is moving quickly, but its scope remains limited. People from network interconnection provider IIX started the project and have recruited other open source projects as partners. IIX is applying CloudRouter to internal operations and is still probably CloudRouter’s biggest user, says Jay Turner, head of the project (and, yes, an IIX employee).
Nearly every router vendor offers a virtual router, but these software-based products tend to be second-class citizens in their companies’ portfolios, Turner says. He considers Cisco to be an exception, with products such as its Cloud Services Router 1000v.
Therein lie the seeds of the revolution CloudRouter hopes to fuel. Cisco’s virtual routers are still Cisco routers and work best in a network with other Cisco gear, Turner says. “We want to break the dependency on the hardware router,” he says. (Note that this is different from Metaswitch’s Project Calico, which involves a virtual router but is more about an underlying network for NFV.)
Moreover, he thinks the competition shouldn’t expect to best Cisco by going head-to-head in the same way that hasn’t worked for most of them for the past decade. He sees CloudRouter becoming a rallying point.
“The only way anyone’s going to gain any significant market share is through a collaborative effort. I do think there’s a common feeling among the non-Ciscos that they need to collaborate,” he says. “Just like Linux did in congregating the people against a common target, I think we’re going to see something similar happen in the networking space around an open source movement.”
But Who’s Using CloudRouter?
A couple of potential real-world customers are trying out CloudRouter. One, Turner says, is a “very large corporate” entity that’s asked the project to include support for ExaBGP, and open source router project similar to Quagga and BIRD. So, CloudRouter 2.0 now includes the ExaBGP daemon (the project already supported Quagga and BIRD).
That corporation is using CloudRouter in the lab but hasn’t tried it in a commercial deployment yet, Turner says.
Another user is the Australia National University, which partnered with CloudRouter last month to develop Layer 3 configuration automation for OpenDaylight. That’s a work-in-progress that didn’t progress enough to make the 2.0 release, Turner says.
Key to the beta release are the inclusions of the newest OpenDaylight Project and ONOS releases — the Lithium and Cardinal releases, respectively. In both cases, CloudRouter 2.0 includes a combination of code modules that’s been validated to work with CloudRouter, so that a complete environment can be implemented relatively easily.
Lithium just came out last week, and Turner praises the OpenDaylight community for a release that was stable and easy to implement. “We had it packaged within about five hours,” he says.