I just got back from a week in The Hague as both an attendee and an exhibitor at the 5th annual SDN World Congress. My first observation is that the name of this show struggles to keep up with what’s actually happening—a sign of how quickly we are now experiencing the adoption of open, programmable networking. There used to be an OpenFlow in the show title. But that seems to have fallen away as OpenFlow no longer needs to be front and center but rather quietly (and very effectively) hums along under the covers. And this year’s show was so obviously all about NFV and orchestration that the ‘SDN’ in the title also seems a bit misplaced.
Titles aside, what was really apparent was the number of service providers and operators who are (finally) rolling out services to their customers based on programmable networking elements that are controlled by combinations of open source and vendor-provided software. It is the beginning of real SDN, something we have all been working hard towards.
We presented a few topics at the show including our ONF (Open Networking Foundation) Solutions Showcase “Service Delivery: Innovation, Velocity, Tailoring with Virtualized Network Infrastructure for Internet-scale Networks.” It was a very timely display given the strong “operationalizing NFV” theme. We showed how Corsa solutions allowed large network operators, whether traditional carrier, ISP or cloud services, can now dig deeper into programmable networking. And the operators I spoke with were keen as they realize there is a compelling path to very fast, reliable, and tailored new service delivery when the right amount of flexibility and virtualization exists within the network infrastructure.
Additionally, attendees showed high interest in our “Internet-Scale 100G Network Hardware Virtualization for NFV” demo, where virtual switching and routing contexts were spun up and operated at line rate throughput. Helping network operators deliver subscriber-level networking, on-demand services, and real-time network tuning is a priority as many are clearly diving into this.
So that’s progress—NFV and SDN are really working–even in bite-sized chunks. What is still ahead, and will take much collaboration among organizations and companies that haven’t traditionally had to cooperate, is converging on a few best-in-class open source management and orchestration platforms. Where data plane and control plane discussions of some years ago are slowly converging on a better network architecture for L0-L3, there is now much work to be done to sort through open source MANO, Open-O, CORD, and all the other open source operating and orchestration systems. This week we saw ONF and on.lab combine which adds to the mix. Expect to see Corsa digging in and helping lead the charge here.