ONOS Hummingbird Release Advances Open-Source SDN

New release provides improvements for both north and southbound interfaces.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Sep 23, 2016
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The Open Network Operating System (ONOS) open-source Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform announced its Hummingbird release on September 22, providing new features and capabilities such as support for the IEEE Abstraction and Control of Traffic Engineered Networks standard.

ONOS got its start in November 2014 as an effort led by the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) and became a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project in October 2015.

"ON.Lab partnered with The Linux Foundation to leverage its unmatched track record and experience in shepherding open source projects and creating vibrant global open source communities," Bill Snow, VP of engineering at ON.Lab, told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet.

The Linux Foundation is home to multiple open-source SDN efforts including, the OpenDaylight project and OPNFV. Snow noted that the ONOS Project collaborates with both OpenDaylight and OPNFV where it makes sense.

"We've focused collaborative efforts to ensure we are involved in the OPNFV releases, as the technology is very complementary to ONOS," Snow said. "With OpenDaylight, our collaboration mainly takes the form of discussions around common areas, such as northbound interfaces."

ONOS provides both north and southbound interface improvements as part of the Hummingbird release. The Southbound interface in SDN refers to the level of the networking stack that connects to lower-level components such as the actual switch, while the Northbound interface connects to higher-level networking elements.

With ONOS Hummingbird there is now improved support for legacy devices.

"We have a southbound driver abstraction that can hide the details of different device protocols and interactions from the core," Snow explained. "In this way, one can plug in any protocol they want, (e.g., Netconf, openflow, OSPF, BGP-LS, SNMP, TLI, etc.) for communicating with devices."

ONOS Hummingbird now also supports the IEEE Abstraction and Control of Traffic Engineered Networks (ACTN). Snow explained that ACTN is a standard way to interconnect different networks and manage them as one as seen from the application level.

"This support enables interoperability that was not there before in the case of an operator wanting to use the IETF ACTN," Snow said. "It is accurate to say that ONOS already supported multiple domains of IP/Optical, as demonstrated the last two years; but, now this brings a new way to provide standard traffic engineering with enhanced interoperability."

Looking forward, there are a number of big deliverables on the ONOS roadmap for future releases. Among the roadmap items of future releases is an enhanced northbound interface that improves the operation of intents across different types of domains (IP, transport, wireless). Additionally, Snow expects that there will be continued improvements in the dynamic configuration of models, both at the northbound and southbound interface level.

"ONOS will set new standards for ease of dynamic device and service configuration," Snow said. "We are developing a new toolchain around YANG, a major portion of this is delivered in Hummingbird. More exciting YANG toolchain development is coming soon."

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

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