OpenDaylight Helium Bootstraps SDN Security

OpenDaylight Helium, the second major release of the open source SDN platform, shows maturity, stability, and security.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Sep 29, 2014
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The Linux Foundation's OpenDaylight Collaboration Project is out today with its OpenDaylight Helium SDN platform release.

OpenDaylight Helium is the second major release since the OpenDaylight effort got underway in April of 2013. The first major release for OpenDaylight was OpenDaylight Hydrogen, which debuted in February of this year.

OpenDaylight is a multi-stakeholder effort to build an open Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform. Neela Jacques, executive director of the OpenDaylight Project, told Enterprise Networking Planet that the initial Hydrogen release was all about getting the platform out into the market.

Jacques explained that OpenDaylight started out with a bunch of proprietary vendors all coming to the table to figure out how to build an open platform. The Hydrogen release was an initial effort, and Jacques emphasized that OpenDaylight Helium goes beyond that with a solid foundation on which vendors can now build products. Among the vendors that have already announced Helium-based products is Brocade, which announced its Helium product last week.

David Meyer, chairman of the OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee (TSC), explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that there are a number of big changes in the Helium platform. OpenDaylight itself is a collection of different individual projects and capabilities which can be combined to build an SDN platform. For the Hydrogen release, OpenDaylight had a number of defined release editions that bundled various project combinations. For the OpenDaylight Helium release, Meyer said that users can leverage the Apache Karaf open-source technology to build on-demand combinations of OpenDaylight capabilities.

Security is a particular area of focus in the Helium release, with multiple new capabilities. Among the new security projects is the Secure Network Bootstrapping Infrastructure (SNBI). With SNBI, a secured set of controllers and network devices can be defined and booted.

OpenDaylight Helium also includes a AAA (Access, Authorization and Accounting) project to further boost SDN user security. Meyer added that there has also been interest in an effort within the OpenDaylight Project to look at the security of the code itself.

One of the key features that OpenDaylight developers said they were interested in for Helium back in February was the idea of SDN controller federation. That's a feature that is manifest in OpenDaylight Helium with the SDNi (Software Defined Networking interface) project.

"SDNi provides cross-controller federation and uses BGP (Border Gateway Protocol)," Meyer said.

OpenDaylight Lithium

Now that OpenDaylight Helium is out, OpenDaylight developers are turning their attention to the next major milestone, the OpenDaylight Lithium release set for 2015. Jacques emphasized that at this stage of OpenDaylight, there is now a lifecycle concept where new features and project move from incubation into project integration as they mature.

"There will more and more emphasis on production readiness of all components for Lithium," Meyer said. "OpenDaylight in the Lithium timeframe will be rock-solid and high-performance."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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