OpenDaylight Carbon SDN Platform Expands Performance and Scalability

The OpenDaylight Project released its newest milestone today with the official general availability of the new Carbon platform.

Carbon is the sixth major release from OpenDaylight and follows the Boron release that debuted in September 2016. OpenDaylight first started in April 2013 as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, with the goal of building an open SDN platform.

Phil Robb, Interim Executive Director for OpenDaylight told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet that from the beginning, OpenDaylight was designed to be a general-purpose development platform for building programmable networks He noted that early releases of OpenDaylight put the core platform in place.

“More recent releases such as Boron focused on solidifying foundational toolchains for leading use cases, such as NFV for carrier edge and cloud networks, management plane programmability, and integration within larger frameworks,” Robb said. “Carbon continues to build on this work to support a proliferating number of use cases.”

Among the use cases that OpenDaylight Carbon helps to support is Internet of Things (IOT). Robb explained that Carbon adds the standards-based IoTDM plugin infrastructure to allow easy implementation of new device plugins.

“This production-ready infrastructure equally supports localized, small footprint use cases as well as massive scale up/out distributed deployments,” he said.

Other use cases supported by OpenDaylight now also include Metro Ethernet and Virtualized Central Office (vCOs).


By definition, OpenDaylight started off as an SDN effort, but with Carbon the platform now also includes integrated Network Function Virtualization (NFV) management capabilities. Robb commented that significant advances have been made in Carbon to orchestrate service function chaining capabilities (SFC) for OpenStack environments through new functionality and greater integration between the Genius, NetVirt and SFC projects within OpenDaylight.

Part of the SFC/NFV integration is enabled by way of the OpenDaylight’s Genius project. Robb explained that the Genius project serves to eliminate interference between ODL applications using the same resources by providing APIs to move design-time coordination to dynamic run-time coordination. He noted that the overall impact of Genius is that it makes the OpenDaylight architecture more flexible and easier to modify.

“The NetVirt project implements OpenStack networking for VMs,” Robb said. “With the Carbon release, NetVirt integrates with Genius to dynamically create and manage tunnels and virtual network functions (VNFs) on demand and map traffic to individual service chains.”

NFV also benefits from the Nirvana Stack open-source framework for NFV creation management proposed by AT&T.

“The Nirvana Stack takes advantage of integration work within the Carbon release to create tighter linkages between OpenStack, OpenDaylight and, within the OPNFV test framework, to provide a common means of deploying VNFs within an OpenStack environment,” Robb said.


Scalability of OpenDaylight gets a boost in Carbon thanks to the new Federation project. Robb explained that OpenDaylight deployments can now be federated across multiple sites by allowing loosely coupled, distributed applications to share key datasets as peers using the Federation project.

“This approach to multi-site federation improves geographic scale and application performance as well as fault tolerance,” he said.

OpenDaylight today is not a hobbyist project, but serves a core role in large production deployments.

“ODL-driven networks now deliver services to approximately 1 billion subscribers worldwide, with several more major implementations coming online by the end of 2017, Robb said. “At the same time, large distributed enterprises are increasingly attracted to the solidifying open networking stack. OpenDaylight is at the core of all of these larger frameworks, in most cases as the only SDN platform.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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