Open source software-defined networking (SDN) project ONOS today announced it has released Cardinal, the 1.2 version of its software platform which adds a wide range of multiprotocol support, performance enhancements, and application programming interfaces (APIs).
New features include full support for IPv6, an improved northbound interface, a set of interfaces for managing the flow subsystems and label- and tunnel-oriented protocols such as MPLS and VXLAN, and a Netconf interface. TL1 interfaces have been demonstrated but are not yet ready in the current open source distribution.
ONOS says an improved graphical user interface (GUI) makes it easier to see network configurations, including table views and link port identity, and that overall platform performance has been boosted by 25%, according to testing.
ONOS is an open-source SDN network operating system managed by ON.Lab. It is targeted at service providers and large enterprises, enabling the community to create and deploy services on commodity hardware, including white boxes. The first ONOS was open-sourced on Dec. 5, 2014. Members of the ONOS project include high-profile service providers and technology vendors including AT&T, Cisco, Ciena, Ericsson, Huawei, NTT Communications, and SK Telecom.
Chief of strategy and partnerships with ONOS, Sheryl Zhang, says a key focus of the Cardinal has been improving scaleability, performance, and multi-vendor interoperability of the product.
“We have a modular design of the software, and we want to put a clean boundary in every single layer.” Zhang says this means that each layer can shield “abstraction” — it can operate without knowledge of a networking layer below it. This modular approach makes ONOS very scaleable, says Zhang.
In the applications layer, for example, you “don’t want to understand anything about the topology or vendor equipment. We shield all complexity from the applications.”
The diagram below demonstrates this architecture, which Zhang says is the open-source project’s hallmark.
ONOS’ focus on large service provider installations and interoperability is being demonstrated by a number of proofs of concept (PoCs) developed in customer networks.
For example, a PoC with the Internet2 consortium demonstrates the integration of SDN and IP networks using border gateway protocol (BGP) control.
In another use case, ONOS says it has shown that specific protocols such as PCEP, MPLS, and RSVP tunnels can be supported. These features were requested by Huawei and will improve multivendor interoperability.
Another use case for Cardinal is to create a service-provider central office re-architected into a data center, which yields the elegant acronym CORD. Does that mean building carrier data centers is now as easy as chopping wood?
All of this indicates that ONOS is moving quite fast to build in real-world functions in response to its constituency.
ONOS emerged last year in a bid to become an alternative to other open-source projects such as the OpenDaylight Project. It came out of the gate quite fast, announcing 1,000 downloads as of December. (Note: I have asked ONOS for an update on downloads but haven’t received one as of yet.)
ONOS also regularly tops the list of SDXcentral’s most popular projects, according to our readers.The scale of the new ONOS release is impressive and ambitious, and should reinforce ONOS’ reputation as the SDN open-source projects with significant momentum in the service-provider community. Cardinal’s focus on scaleability, integration and interoperability features is filling in the gaps that many customers need to tie SDN into real-world networks.