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OpenDaylight, open-source, software-defined networking, gets real with first release

It's not just a good idea anymore, the OpenDaylight Project has released its first open-source software-defined network release: Hydrogen.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Santa Clara, CA: When the Linux Foundation announced that it had gotten ever-warring networking vendors to agree to work together on the open-source software-defined network (SDN) project, OpenDaylight, the haters spoke loud and clear. The "OpenDaylight Project will likely delay the adoption of enterprise software-defined networking solutions and stifle innovation," said Gartner.


Almost no one at the standing-room only OpenDaylight Summit would agree. When Neela Jacques, executive director of OpenDaylight, announced the first release of  the program, Hydrogen, the news was greeted with a round of applause. This was an audience made up of developers and executives from both the biggest companies supporting OpenDaylight, such as Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, and Cisco to people from the smallest start-ups — even individual programmers.

OpenDaylight is an open-source platform for network programmability to enable SDN and create a solid foundation for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) for networks. Enterprises, service providers, equipment providers and academia can download Hydrogen today and begin to evaluate, commercialize and deploy SDN and NFV.

This initial release includes prebuilt-versions for RPM-based Linux distributions and ready to run Hydrogen OpenDaylight virtual machines for Fedora and Ubuntu. Don't think for a minute that OpenDaylight is just for Linux. OpenDaylight is written primarily in Java and can be run on almost any platform. At the event, Rob Dolin, a Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft Open Technologies team, showed off Hydrogen running on Azure.

In an interview, Jacques said, that "Hydrogen is a developer's release." Never-the-less, he fully expects companies will produce "OpenDaylight 'distributions'; programs that use OpenDaylight as their core; network services that use this release as their basis; and some places, such as the University of Kentucky, use the code to start managing their networks."

Hydrogen comes in three different editions to help a wide array of users get up and running as quickly as possible: Base Edition, Virtualization Edition and Service Provider Edition.

“OpenDaylight formed with the goal of tackling one of IT’s toughest challenges, simplifying network management,” said David Meyer, the Technical Steering OpenDaylight Committee chair. “This first release is a great step forward and the community is already looking to build on its work to address a variety of additional capabilities and features in subsequent releases that are being discussed at the first OpenDaylight Summit this week.”

Hydrogen Base Edition is for those who are exploring SDN and OpenFlow for proof-of-concepts or academic initiatives in physical or virtual environments. Hydrogen Virtualization Edition for data centers includes all the components of Base plus functionality for creating and managing Virtual Tenant Networks and virtual overlays, and includes applications for security and network management. Finally, the Service Provider Edition is for providers and carriers who manage existing networks and want to plot a path to SDN and NFV. It includes Base plus protocol support commonly encountered in service provider networks, as well as security and network management applications.

Here are the key features of each Hydrogen edition:

Base Edition

  • Controller: A modular, extensible, scalable and multi-protocol SDN controller based on OSGi.

  • OpenFlow Plugin: Integration of OpenFlow protocol library in controller Service Abstraction Layer (SAL).

  • OpenFlow Protocol Library: OpenFlow 1.3 protocol library implementation.

  • OVSDB: Open vSwitch Database configuration and management protocol support, e.g. for Open vSwitch and other OVSDB servers.

  • YANG network data modeling tools: Java-based NETCONF and YANG tooling for OpenDaylight projects.

 Virtualization Edition (includes Base Edition)

  • Affinity Metadata Service: APIs to express workload relationships and service levels.

  • Defense4All: DDoS detection and mitigation framework.

  • Open DOVE: Multi-tenant network virtualization based on overlays, including control plane and Open vSwitch-based data plane.

  • Virtual Tenant Network: Multi-tenant network virtualization application using OpenFlow.

Service Provider Edition (includes Base Edition)

  • Affinity Metadata Service: APIs to express workload relationships and service levels.

  • BGP-LS/PCEP: Support for traffic engineering with BGP-LS (BGP protocol library and topology model) and PCEP (path programming model).

  • Defense4All: DDoS detection and mitigation framework.

  • LISP Flow Mapping: Locator/identifier Separation Protocol plug-in, LISP mapping service (can be used to implement virtual networks).

  • SNMP4SDN: SNMP protocol support and APIs to manage commodity Ethernet switches.

Want to help build the next version? You can help shape the future of OpenDaylight and networking by visiting the How to Participate page. Delay SDN adoption? Stigle innovation? Ha!  OpenDaylight is giving developers and end-users what they need to build SDNs and to help them decide how they'll build their networks for the next generation of users.

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