The University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) has launched a software-defined networking (SDN) consortium to provide controller and switch interoperability testing for SDN vendors and service providers. It also will handle conformance and benchmark testing.
The nonprofit says that the SDN Consortium is a natural progression for it, because it is already conducting a lot of other interoperability tests and has much of the needed infrastructure. “We have a very large switch test bed,” says Timothy Winters, UNH-IOL senior executive of software and IP network. “We have a lot of switches because we are already testing, routing, and hosting.”
Winters says that the consortium, which will officially open for business Aug. 1, is talking to a few vendors about becoming members, and he expects interest will grow as the organization spreads the word about its new undertaking.
The SDN Consortium will initially test SDN applications and controllers against SDN switches. Conformance and benchmarking will follow upon request from SDN Consortium members. Annual membership to the SDN Consortium will cost $20,000. Pay-per-test fees are also available.
Members of the consortium will be able to share testing costs, Winters says. The group will also create specific test cases for applications, allowing vendors to verify if an application works in a certain test environment.
Winters expects the growing Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem to become a driver for the consortium, and the group does plan to focus on IoT use cases. “What we are hearing is that as we are putting these devices on the network, they have to act accordingly, and SDN is a good tool for that,” he says.
The consortium will also collaborate with OPNFV regarding network functions virtualization (NFV). “We want to make sure the SDN Consortium dovetails into the orchestration and let OPNFV focus on orchestration,” he says.
But the UNH-IOL isn’t alone in launching SDN testing labs. Last May, CableLabs subsidiary Kyrio launched an interoperability lab, specifically for testing SDN and NFV. The lab is open to hardware vendors, software vendors, and all NFV/SDN ecosystem partners.
CableLabs has been working on SDN and NFV since 2012. In particular, the nonprofit has been looking at how to virtualize the cable modem termination system (CMTS). It’s also been exploring virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) that will help cable operators deploy services faster and simplify the home network.
Winters says the SDN Consortium will not compete with Kyrio’s test lab but instead will work closely with it and other SDN test labs.