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By: Arpit Joshipura, General Manager, Networking, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation

The first Open Networking Summit was held in October 2011 at Stanford University and described as “a premier event about OpenFlow and Software-Defined Networking (SDN)”. Here we are seven and half years later and I’m constantly amazed at both how far we’ve come since then, and at how quickly a traditionally slow-moving industry like telecommunications is embracing change and innovation powered by open source. Coming out of the ONS Summit in Amsterdam last fall, Network World described open source networking as the “new norm,” and indeed, open platforms have become de-facto standards in networking.  

Like the technology, ONS as an event is constantly evolving to meet industry needs and is designed to help you take advantage of this revolution in networking. The theme of this year’s event is “Enabling Collaborative Development & Innovation” and we’re doing this by exploring collaborative development and innovation across the ecosystem for enterprises, service providers and cloud providers onkey areas like SDN, NFV, VNF, CNF/Cloud Native Networking, Orchestration, Automation of Cloud, Core Network, Edge, Access, IoT services, and more.

A unique aspect of ONS is that it facilitates deep technical discussions in parallel with exciting keynotes, industry, and business discussions in an integrated program. The latest innovations from the networking project communities including LF Networking (ONAP, OpenDaylight, OPNFV, Tungsten Fabric) are well represented in the program, and in features and add-ons such as the LFN Unconference Track and LFN Networking Demos. A variety of event experiences ensure that attendees have ample opportunities to meet and engage with each other in sessions, the expo hall, and during social events.

New this year is a track structure built to cover the key topics in depth to meet the needs of both CIOs/CTO/architects and developers, sysadmins, NetOps and DevOps teams:

The ONS Schedule is now live — find the sessions and tutorials that will help you learn how to participate in the open source communities and ecosystems that will make a difference in your networking career. And if you need help convincing your boss, this will help you make the case.

The standard price expires March 17th so hurry up and register today! Be sure to check out the Day Passes and Hall Passes available as well.

I hope to see you there!

 

The LFN booth at ONS Europe will showcase the top, community-led, technical demos from the LFN family of projects.

LF Networking (LFN), launched on January 1st of this year, has already made a significant impact in the open source networking ecosystem gaining over 100 members in the just the first 100 days. Critically, LFN has also continues to attract support and participation from many of the world’s top network operators, including six new members announced in May: KT, KDDI, SK Telecom, Sprint, Swisscom; and Deutsche Telekom announced just last month. In fact, member companies of LFN now represent more than 60% of the world’s mobile subscribers. Open source is becoming the de facto way to develop software and it’s the technical collaboration at the project level that makes it so powerful.

Similar to the demos in the LFN Booth at ONS North America, the LFN Booth at ONS Europe will once again showcase the top, community-led, technical demos from the LFN family of projects. We have increased the number of demo stations from 8 to 10, and for the first time, are showcasing demos from the big data analytics project PNDA, and demos that include the newly added LFN Project, Tungsten Fabric (formerly OpenContrail). Technology from founding LFN Projects FD.io, ONAP, OPNFV, and OpenDaylight will also be represented, along with adjacent projects like Acumos, Kubernetes, OpenCI, Open Compute Project, and OpenStack.

Building on the Virtual Central Office demo shown at the OPNFV Summit last year, a team from Red Hat and 10+ participating companies, including China Mobile, have expanded to show a mobile access network configuration using vRAN for the LTE RAN and vEPC built in open source. Another demo showcasing collaboration from 10+ companies, Orange will showcase their Orange OpenLab which is based on several LFN projects. OpenLab allows for the management of CI/CD pipelines, and provides a stable environment for developers. Other operator-led demos include CCVPN (Cross Domain and Cross Layer VPN), from China Mobile and Vodafone, that demonstrates ONAP orchestration capability; and a demo from AT&T showcasing the design, configuration, and deployment of a closed loop instance acting on a VNF (vCPE).

Industry hot topics like cloud native approaches to virtual network functions, service mesh, and testing for 5G and edge computing scenarios will also be covered.

Listed below is the full networking demo lineup, and you can read detailed descriptions of each demo here.

  • ONAP Control Loops & ONAP CLAMP Dashboard (ONAP) – Presented by AT&T
  • OPNFV Testing for Open Infrastructure Federation (OPNFV, OpenStack) – Presented by China Mobile, Dell, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, SUSE, and ZTE
  • Network Telemetry Analytics – Collecting, Ingesting, and Analyzing Telemetry Data (PNDA) – Presented by Cisco, Huawei, Gradiant, Inocybe Technologies, and Xoriant
  • ONAP-Powered Cross-Operator Connectivity Service Demo (ONAP) – Presented by CMCC, Vodafone, and Huawei
  • Service Mesh and SDN: At-Scale Cluster Load Balancing (Tungsten Fabric, Linux OS, Istio, Envoy, Kubernetes, HAProxy) – Presented by Juniper Networks
  • Automating Transport Services Over Multi-Domain Networks (OpenDaylight) – Presented by Lumina Networks
  • LFN Orange Openlab: A Neutral Open Source Catalyst & Playground (ONAP, OPNFV, Acumos, OpenCI, Openstack, Kubernetes) – Presented by Orange and 10+ partners
  • An Open Approach: Virtualizing the CO for Mobile Services (OPNFV, ODL, OpenStack, OCP) – Presented by Red Hat and 10+ partners
  • SDN Deployment with Multi Data-Path Options (Tungsten Fabric, FD.io) – Presented by Sofioni Networks & ATS
  • Intelligent ONAP Policies Using AI/ML Realized Through Acumos (ONAP, Acumos) – Presented by Tech Mahindra Limited

To all the demo managers with hardhats and tool belts — thank for your hard work pulling these together. To everyone else, come meet us at the construction site to see where open source networking is going.

If you haven’t already registered for ONS Europe, use code ONS18SPR for 15% off. Hurry, standard registration expires September 15th. Register today!

Open Networking Summit

Register for Open Networking Summit Europe by August 4 to save $805.

The schedule for Open Networking Summit Europe is now live!

Open Networking Summit, the premier open networking event in North America, comes to Europe for the first time this year, gathering enterprises, service providers, and cloud providers across the open networking ecosystem.

Join 1000+ architects, developers, and thought leaders in Amsterdam, September 25-27, to share learnings, highlight innovation and discuss the future of open networking, including SDN, NFV, orchestration, and the automation of cloud, network, and IoT services.

Keynote Sessions Include:

  • Talks from Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Türk Telekom
  • Sessions and panels on the intersection of cloud native and networking; the intersection of blockchain and networking; ONAP leadership; and vendor innovation in open source.
  • Cross Domain/Cross-Layer VPN Service Orchestration Demo from China Mobile, Huawei, and Vodafone
  • Virtual Central Office (VCO) 2.0 – Virtualized Mobile Network Demo showing new and improved use cases extending the capabilities of the VCO, with presenters from China Mobile, Red Hat, and more.

Session Highlights Include:

  • Network Service Mesh: An Attempt to Reimagine NFV in a Cloud-Native Fashion – Frederick Kautz, Red Hat and Kyle Mestery, Cisco
  • Creating Synergies: Sharing and Reusing Results of CI/CD System Between Communities – Fatih Degirmenci, Ericsson and Yolanda Robla Mota, Red Hat
  • 5G Edge Cloud in a Lightpole – Tapio Tallgren, Nokia
  • ONAP Exploration at Verizon – Fernando Oliveira and Viswanath Kumar Skand Priya, Verizon
  • A Practical Approach to Intent-Based Networking: Dynamic On-demand QoS – Carlos Giraldo Rodríguez, Gradiant
  • Closed-Loop Automation for Edge Cloud with Distributed ONAP Multi-Cloud – Bin Yang, Wind River Systems
  • And many, many more including talks from Airbnb, Alibaba Cloud, General Motors, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Pivotal, Thomas Reuters and VMware.

ONS Europe offers 100+ sessions, labs, tutorials and lightning talks across networking trends, networking business and operations, service provider and cloud networking, and enterprise IT covering a range of open networking projects and technologies.

Content is offered for both the business & architecture audience, and the developer/DevOps audience. Rounding out the event are unconference sessions, evening events and developer lounges for face to face collaboration, and the opportunity to view dozens of demos from networking projects and companies.

Sign up to receive updates on Open Networking Summit:

REGISTER BY AUGUST 4 TO SAVE $805 »

Need help convincing your manager? Here’s a letter that can help you make the request to attend Open Networking Summit Europe.

Applications for diversity and needs-based scholarships are also being accepted. Get information on eligibility and how to apply. Free childcare is also available for attendees.

Software-Defined Infrastructure

“The magic of the Uber app today is powered by a highly distributed software architecture,’’ says Uber’s Justin Dustzadeh.

The only way for Uber to deliver the required level of network performance and availability is through software and automation, said Justin Dustzadeh, the head of global network and software platform at Uber.  The ride sharing company relies heavily on software to automate its infrastructure and thoroughly tests not only its software but also the test environment itself, Dustzadeh said, speaking at the recent Open Networking Summit

“Our approach … is to create a test environment that can not only provide the capabilities needed to do the traditional software test cycles — such as feature testing, regression testing, integration testing — but also enables us to deploy and use the tested software to provision, monitor and configure the test environment itself,’’ he told the audience.

To give an idea of just how vast a network Uber has, the company, which started in 2010, logged over five billion trips in 2016, and about 15 million rides occur every day in over 600 cities and in 78 countries, he said.

Software architecture

“The magic of the Uber app today is powered by a highly distributed software architecture that relies on a fault-tolerant and highly available infrastructure,’’ Dustzadeh said.  To fully achieve the benefits of software-based automation, he said they always strive to use open standards-based technologies and avoid dependency on a single vendor across the entire infrastructure stack.

At Uber, a key enabler is to build real-time or near real-time visibility into the infrastructure state, and then leveraging that information and augment it with additional insights from analytics and machine learning, Dustzadeh said. Then IT can push the desired state of the infrastructure through programmatic interfaces.

In terms of real-life examples, he said they use software to automate many areas, from delivering forecasting models to doing capacity planning, provisioning infrastructure and managing all the changes that IT performs. Additionally, software is used to automate detecting incidents and for mitigating and remediating when things fail.

Automation

“For provisioning across our server and network environments we leverage a number of homegrown software platforms to automate and orchestrate the entire provisioning process,” in areas like auto discovery, Dustzadeh said. On the network side, for example, IT pushes intelligence to the devices to enable a distributed self-discovery model and enable zero-touch provisioning, he noted. This includes auto validation of the state of the hardware, for example, to prevent bad devices from going into production, he added.

Uber’s IT group utilizes a distributed and highly available platform for auto-detection, he said. On the network side, they do both active and passive monitoring, leveraging streaming telemetry. This gives officials near real-time visibility into the state of the network, including network reachability, network latency, packet losses, and link utilization, he said.

Auto-mitigation and auto-remediation are other areas where Uber heavily leverages software to improve its operational efficiencies, he said. “So when hardware fails, not only do we have to ensure that the issue is mitigated quickly before it becomes a service impacting incident, we also automate the back-end workflows to automatically generate troubleshooting and/or RMA tickets.”

If necessary, he said, they can also do auto-diagnostic tests, auto-remediation tests and perform failure prediction functions, for example, by monitoring specific metrics or by running specific playbooks.

Resiliency

Uber views its network as a key enabler of its business, Dustzadeh said. “Such network resiliency with the focus on deterministic failure behavior is one of our top design principles. Operational efficiency is also a key objective, meaning that the network has to be simple to build and also be flexible and cost effective.”

On the backbone side and in the WAN space, Uber is moving away from static and long-term contract models toward a more flexible approach, preferably SDN-controlled, on-demand spectrum-as-a-service, he said. “We are also exploring ideas and future models where regional and long-haul bandwidth could be more on demand and usage based like cloud services where carriers would serve as spectrum brokers.”

On the data center side, in addition to the software-defined capabilities Dustzadeh outlined, the company is also looking into server OEMs and a modular rack design to support multiple server types, for example, across compute, storage, and AI, and machine learning with GPU and FPGA, he said. They are also looking at network disaggregation in the data center.

“There is a great opportunity, especially in the data center space, to look into the disaggregated model to separate network hardware and network software,’’ he said. This could enable a much faster pace of innovation and faster development of new features, he noted.  

Watch the complete presentation below:

software defined networking

Wendy Cartee, Nick McKeown, Guru Parulkar, and Chris Wright discuss the first 10 years of software defined networking at Open Networking Summit North America.

In 2008, if you wanted to build a network, you had to build it from the same switch and router equipment that everyone else had, according to Nick McKeown, co-founder of Barefoot Networks, speaking as part of a panel of networking experts at Open Networking Summit North America

Equipment was closed, proprietary, and vertically integrated with features already baked in, McKeown noted. And, “network management was a dirty word. If you wanted to manage a network of switches, you had to write your own scripts over a lousy, cruddy CLI, and everybody had their own way of doing it in order to try to make their network different from everybody else’s.”

All this changed when Stanford University Ph.D. student Martin Casado had the bold idea to rebuild the Stanford network out of custom-built switches and access points, he said.

Separate Planes

“Martin just simply showed that if you lift the control up and out of the switches, up into servers, you could replace the 2,000 CPUs with one CPU centrally managed and it would perform exactly how you wanted, could administered by about 10 people instead of 200. And you could implement the policies of a large institution directly in one place, centrally administered,” said McKeown.

That led to the birth of The Clean Slate program and, shortly afterward, Kate Green from MIT Technology Review coined the term Software Defined Networking (SDN), he said.

“What seemed like a very simple idea, to just separate the control plane from the forwarding plane, define a protocol that is OpenFlow, and enable the research community to build new capabilities and functionality on top of that control plane … caught the attention of the research community and made it very, very easy for them to innovate,’’ said Guru Parulkar, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation.

On the heels of that came the idea of slicing a production network using OpenFlow and a simple piece of software, he said. In one slice you could run a production network, and in another slice you could run an experimental network and show the new capabilities.

The notion of the segregating of the control plane and the data plane brought about a whole new way of doing networking as it became open, along with the intersection of open source and SDN, noted moderator Wendy Cartee, senior director of marketing, Cloud Native Applications, at VMware.

“Building all of this new virtualization technology and bringing it into enterprises and to the world at large, created a need for a type of network programmability” that was happening as the same time as the research, noted Chris Wright, vice president and CTO, at Red Hat. That brought about open source tools like Open vSwitch, “so we could build a type of network topology that we needed in virtualization.”

Confluence of Events

In the beginning, there was much hype about SDN and desegregation and OpenFlow, Wright said. But, he continued, it’s not about a particular tool or a protocol, “it’s about a concept, and the concept is about programmability of the network, and open source is a great way to help develop skills and advance the industry with a lot of collaborative effort.”

There was a confluence of events: taking some core tenets from research, creating open source projects for people to collaborate around and solve real engineering problems for themselves, Wright said. “To me it’s a little bit of the virtualization, a little bit of academic research coming together at just the right time and then accelerated with open source code that we can collaborate on.”

Today, many service providers are deploying CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) because operators want to rebuild the network edge because 5G is coming, Parulkar observed.

“Many operators want to [offer] gigabit-plus broadband access to their residential customers,” he said. “The central offices are very old and so building the new network edge is almost mandatory.” Ideally, they want to do it with new software defined networking, open source, desegregation and white boxes, he added.

The Next 10 Years

Looking ahead, the networking community “risks a bit of fragmentation as we will go off in different directions,’’ said McKeown. So he said it’s important to find a balance, and the common interest is in creating production quality software from ODL, ONS, CORD, and P4.

The overall picture is that “we’re trying to build next-generation networks,’’ said Wright. “What’s challenging for us as a broad industry is finding the best-of-breed ways to do that … so that we don’t create fragmentation. Part of that fragmentation is a lack of interoperability, but part of that fragmentation is just focus.”

There is still a way to go to realize the full potential of SDN, said Parulkar. But in 10 years’ time, predicted Wright, “SDN20 will be really an open source movement. I think SDN is about unlocking the potential of the network in the context of applications and users, not just the operators trying to connect … two different, separate end points.”

Wright suggested that audience members change their mindset and grow their skills, “because many of the operational practices that we see today in networks don’t translate into a software world where things move rapidly. We [need to] look at being able to make small, consistent, incremental changes rather than big bang, roll out changes. Getting involved and really being open to new techniques, new tools and new technologies … is how, together we can create the next generation. The new Internet.”

Open networking summit

Submit your proposal to speak at Open Networking Summit Europe, happening September 25-27 in Amsterdam.

Open Networking Summit Europe (ONS EU) is the first combined Technical and Business Networking conference for Carriers, Cloud and Enterprises in Europe. The call for proposals for ONS EU 2018 is now open, and we invite you to share your expertise.

Based on feedback we received at Open Networking Summit North America 2018, our restructured agenda will include project-based technical sessions as well.

Share your knowledge with over 700 architects, developers, and thought leaders paving the future of network integration, acceleration and deployment. Proposals are due Sunday, June 24, 2018.

Suggested Topics:

Networking Futures: Share innovative ideas and submissions that will disrupt and change the landscape of networking, as well as networking enabled markets, in the next 3-5 years. Submissions can be for Enterprise IT, Service Providers or Cloud Markets.

Network General Sessions: Common business, architecture, process or people issues that are important to move the Networking agenda forward in the next 1-2 years.

(Technical) Service Provider & Cloud Networking: We want to hear what you have to say about the containerization of service provider workloads, multi-cloud, 5G, fog, and edge access cloud networking.

(Business & Architecture) Service Provider & Cloud Networking: We’re seeking proposals on software-defined packet-optical, mobile edge computing, 4G video/CDN, 5G networking, and incorporating legacy systems (legacy enterprise workload migration, role of networking in cloud migration, and interworking of carrier OSS/BSS/FCAPS systems).

Submit a Talk >>

Get Inspired!

Watch presentations from Open Networking Summit North America 2018

Open Networking Summit

See the Top 10 reasons why you should attend Open Networking Summit NA.

You too could be one of 2,000 architects, developers, and thought leaders from over 300 companies coming together to drive the future of networking integration, acceleration and deployment. It’s not too late to register for Open Networking Summit NA happening March 26 – 29, 2018 in Los Angeles. 

See Who’s Attending! Participating companies at Open Networking Summit NA include:

Register Now>>

Top 10 Reasons to Attend

1. Visionary Keynotes Speakers : Thought leaders from Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, Amdocs, AT&T, Google, Huawei, Intel, Orange, Red Hat, Ticketmaster, Uber and more will deliver talks on the future of networking.

2. Networking Demos : LF Networking will showcase 8 community-driven demos (OPNFV, OpenDaylight, OpenvSwitch, ONAP, and DPDK) in the technology showcase. Additional demos will be featured at the Open Networking Foundation booth, the Acumos Project booth, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation booth, and across sponsor booths. Additional demos will be on-hand Tuesday and Wednesday as part of SOSR.

3. 70+ Conference Sessions : ONS NA 2018 content offers something for everyone. Two tracks specific to devops audience members, and two tracks for our business/architecture audience as well as general interest tracks. In total, sessions cover the hottest trends and technologies in networking today, including deep dives into integration with cloud native, containers, edge, IoT and more.

4. & 5. Developer Forums & Mini Summits: Join the Acumos Project, ARM, Ericsson, Intel, LF Networking, OpenContrail, Open Networking Foundation, and ARM for use cases, panel discussions, technical deep-dives, and more on Monday, March 26 and the morning of Tuesday, March 27 prior to ONS.

6. Onsite Attendee Reception & Solutions Showcase : Join fellow attendees for drinks, snacks, networking and the opportunity to check out 50+ demos and PoCs across the solutions showcase.

7. Training Courses : Get hands-on training for your SDN/NFV deployments post-event on OPNFV and ONAP.

8. All-Attendee Reception : Join fellow attendees at the iconic Majestic Downtown for a night filled with great food, drinks, networking, and entertainment.

9. Morning activities : Start your day with a 5K Fun Run or Morning Meditation.

10. Symposium on SDN Research (SOSR) : This co-located event provides an opportunity for industry and academia to jointly explore and debate recent developments related to all aspects of SDN.

VIEW THE FULL SCHEDULE >>

REGISTER NOW >>

Linux Foundation members and LF project members receive an additional 20% discount off current registration pricing, and academic, student, non-profit, and community discounts are available as well. Email events@linuxfoundation.org to receive your discount code.

Applications for diversity and needs-based scholarships are also being accepted. Click here for information on eligibility and how to apply.

Sign up to get the latest updates on ONS NA 2018!

SD-WAN

Shunmin Zhu, Head of Alibaba Cloud Network Services, offers insights on the future of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the emerging SD-WAN technology.

The 2018 Open Networking Summit is rapidly approaching. In anticipation of this event, we spoke to Shunmin Zhu, Head of Alibaba Cloud Network Services to get more insights on two of the hot topics that will be discussed at the event: the future of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the emerging SD-WAN technology.

“SDN is a network design approach beyond just a technology protocol. The core idea is decoupling the forwarding plane from the control plane and management plane. In this way, network switches and routers only focus on packet forwarding,” said Zhu.

“The forwarding policies and rules are centrally managed by a controller. From a cloud service provider’s perspective, SDN enables customers to manage their private networks in a more intelligent manner through API.”

Shunmin Zhu

Shunmin Zhu, Head of Alibaba Cloud Network Services

This newfound approach to networks that were previously thought to be nearly unfathomable black boxes brings welcome transparency and flexibility. And, that naturally leads to more innovation such as SD-WAN and Hybrid-WAN.

Zhu shared more information on both of those cutting-edge developments later in this interview. Here is what he had to say about how all these things come together to shape the future of the networking.

Linux.com:  Please tell us a little more about SDN for the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with it.

Shunmin Zhu: Today, cloud services make it very convenient for a user to buy a virtual machine, set up the VM, change the configurations at any time, and choose the most suitable billing method. SDN offers the flexibility of using network products the same way as using a VM. Such degree of flexibility was not seen in networks before the advent of SDN.

Before, it was unlikely for a user to divide his cloud network into several private subnets. In the SDN era, however, with VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) users are able to customize their cloud networks by choosing the private subnets and dividing them further. In short, SDN puts the power of cloud network self-management into the hands of users.

Linux.com: What were the drivers behind the development of SDN? What are the drivers spurring its adoption now?

Zhu: Traditional networks prior to SDN find it hard to support the rapid development of business applications. The past few decades witnessed fast growth in the computing industry but not so much innovation was seen in the networking sector. With emerging trends, such as cloud computing and virtualization, organizations need their networks to become as flexible as the cloud computing and storage resources in order to respond to IT and business requirements. Meanwhile the hardware, operating system, and network application of the traditional network are tightly coupled and not accessible to an outsider. The three components are usually controlled by the same OEM. Any innovation or update is thus heavily dependent on the device OEMs.

The shortcomings of the traditional network are apparent from a user’s perspective. First and foremost is the speed of delivery. Network capacity extension usually takes several months, and even a simple network configuration could take several days, which is hard for customers to accept today.

From the perspective of an Internet Service Provider (ISP), the traditional network could hardly satisfy the need of their customers. Additionally, heterogeneous network devices from multiple vendors complicate network management. There’s little that ISPs could do to improve the situation as the network functions are controlled by the device OEMs. User and carrier’s urgent need for SDN has made this technology popular. In a large extent, SDN overcomes the heterogeneity of the physical network devices and opens up network functions via APIs. Business applications can call APIs to turn on network services on demand, which is revolutionary in the network industry.

Linux.com: What are the business benefits overall?

Zhu: The benefits of SDN are twofold. On the one hand, it helps to reduce cost, increase productivity, and reuse the network resources. SDN makes the use of networking products and services very easy and flexible. It gives users the option to pay by usage or by duration. The cost reduction and productivity boost empowers the users to invest more time and money into core business and application innovations. SDN also increases the reuse of the overall network resources in an organization.

On the other hand, SDN brings new innovations and business opportunities to the networking industry. SDN technology is fundamentally reshaping networking toward a more open and prosperous ecosystem. Traditionally, only a few network device manufacturers and ISPs were the major players in the networking industry. With the arrival of SDN, more participants are encouraged to create new networking applications and services, generating tons of new business opportunities.

Linux.com: Why is SDN gaining in popularity now?

Zhu: SDN is gaining momentum because it brings revolutionary changes and tremendous business value to the networking industry. The rise of cloud computing is another factor that accelerates the adoption of SDN. The cloud computing network offers the perfect usage scenario for SDN to quickly land as a real-world application. The vast scale, large scope, and various needs of the cloud network pose a big challenge to the traditional network. SDN technology works very well with cloud computing in terms of elasticity. SDN virtualizes the underlay physical network to provide richer and more customized services to the vast number of cloud computing users.

Linux.com: What are future trends in SDN and the emerging SD-WAN technology?

Zhu: First of all, I think SDN will be adopted in more networking usage scenarios. Most of the future networks will be designed by the rule of SDN. In addition to cloud computing data centers, WAN, carrier networks, campus networks, and even wireless networks will increasingly embrace the adoption of SDN.

Secondly, network infrastructure based on SDN will further combine the power of hardware and software. By definition, SDN is software defined network. The technology seems to be prone to the software side. On the flipside, SDN cannot leave the physical network devices upon which it builds the virtual network. The difficulty to improve performance is another disadvantage of a pure software-based solution. In my vision, SDN technology will evolve towards a tighter combination with hardware.

The more powerful next generation network will be built upon the mutually reinforcing software and hardware. Some cloud service providers have already started to use SmartNIC as a core component in their SDN solution for performance boost.

The next trend is the rapid development of SDN-based network applications. SDN helps build an open industry environment. It’s a good time for technology companies to start businesses around innovative network applications such as network monitoring, network analytics, cyber security and NFV (Network Function Virtualization).

SD-WAN is the application of SDN technology in the wide area network (WAN) space. Generally speaking, WAN refers to a communications network that connects multiple remote local area networks (LANs) with a distance of tens to thousands of miles to each other. For example, a corporate WAN may connect the networks of its headquarters, branch offices, and cloud service providers. Traditional WAN solutions, such as MPLS, could be expensive and require a long period before service provisioning. Wireless networks, on the other hand, fall short in bandwidth capacity and stability. The invention of SD-WAN fixes these problems to a large extent.

For instance, a company can build its corporate WAN by connecting branch offices to the headquarters via virtual dedicated line and internet, also known as a Hybrid-WAN solution. The Internet link brings convenience to network connections between the branches to the headquarters while the virtual dedicated line guarantees the quality of the network service. The Hybrid-WAN solution balances cost, efficiency, and quality in creating a corporate WAN. Other benefits of SD-WAN include SLA, QoS, and application-aware routing rules – key applications are tagged and prioritized in network communication for a better performance. With these benefits, SD-WAN is getting increasing attention and popularity.

Linux.com: What kind of user experience do you think is expected regarding SDN products and services?

Zhu: There are three things that are most important to SDN user experience. First is the simplicity. Networking technologies and products sometimes impress users as over complicated and hard to manage. The SDN network products should be radically simplified. Even a user with limited knowledge in networking should be able to use and configure the product.

Second is the intelligence. SDN network products should be smart enough to identify incidents and fix the issues by itself. This will minimize the impact to the customer’s business and reduce the management costs.

The third most important thing is the transparency. The network is the underlying infrastructure to all applications. The lack of transparency sometimes makes users feel that their network is a black box. A successful SDN product should give more transparency to the network administrators and other network users.

This article was sponsored by Alibaba and written by Linux.com.

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open networking

The industry is taking open networking to next level; learn more from Dell EMC’s Jeff Baher in this interview.

Ahead of the much anticipated 2018 Open Networking Summit, we spoke to Jeff Baher, director, Dell EMC Networking and Service Provider Solutions, about what lies ahead for open networking in the data center and beyond.

“For all that time that the client server world was gaining steam in decoupling hardware and software, networking was always in its own almost mainframe-like world, where the hardware and software were inextricably tied,” Baher explained. “Fast forward to today and there exists a critical need to usher networking into the modern world, like its server brethren, where independent decisions are made around hardware and software functions and services modules are assembled and invoked.”

Jeff Baher, director, Dell EMC Networking and Service Provider Solutions

Indeed, the decoupling is well on its way as is the expected rise of independent open network software vendors, such as Cumulus, Big Switch, IP Infusion and Pluribus, as well as Dell EMC’s OS10 Open Edition that are shaping a rapidly evolving ecosystem. Baher describes the progress in the industry thus far as Open Networking ‘1.0’, proving out the model successfully of decoupling networking hardware and software. And with this, the industry is forging ahead taking open networking to the next level.

Here are the insights Baher shared with us about where open networking is headed.

Linux.com: You refer to an industry shift around open networking, tell us about the shift that Dell EMC is talking about at ONS this year.

Jeff Baher: Well, to date we and our partners have been working hard to prove out the viability of the basic premise of open networking, disaggregating or decoupling networking hardware and software to drive an increase in customer choice and capability. This first phase, or as we say Open Networking 1.0, is four years in the making, and I would say it has been a resounding success as evidenced by some of the pioneering Tier 1 service provider deployments we’ve enabled. There is a clear-cut market fit here as we’ve witnessed both significant innovation and investment. And the industry is not standing still as it moves quickly to its 2.0 version. In this next version, the focus is shifting from decoupling the basic elements of hardware and software, to a focus on disaggregating the software stack itself.

Disaggregating the software stack involves exposing both the silicon and system software for adaption and abstraction This level of disaggregation also assumes a decoupling of the network application (i.e., routing or switching) from the platform operating system (the software that makes lights blink and fans spin). In this manner, with all the software functional elements exposed and disaggregated, independent software decisions can be made and development communities can form around flexible software composition, assembly and delivery models.

Linux.com: Why do people want this level of disaggregation?

Baher: Ultimately, it’s about more control, choice and velocity. With traditional networking systems, there’s typically a lot of code that isn’t necessarily always used. By moving to this new model predicated on disaggregated software elements, users can scale back that unused code and run a highly optimized network operating system (NOS) and applications allowing them to get peak performance, with increased security. And this can all be done independent of the underlying silicon, allowing user to be able to make independent decisions around silicon technology and software adaptation.

All of this, of course, is geared for a fairly savvy network department with most likely a large-scale operation to contend with. For the vast majority of IT shops, they won’t want to “crack the hood” of the network stack and disaggregate pieces. Instead, they will look for pre-packaged offerings derived from these larger “early adopter” experiences. For the larger early adopters, however, there can be virtually an immediate payback by customizing the networking stack, making any operational or technical hurdles well worth it.  These early adopters typically already live in a disaggregated world and hence will feel comfortable mixing and matching hardware, OS layers, and protocols to optimize their network infrastructure. A Tier 1 service provider deployment analysis by ACG Research estimates the realized gains with a disaggregated approach to be 47% lower for TCO, three time the service agility for new services at less than a third of the cost to enable them.

And it is worth noting the prominent role that open source technologies play in disaggregating the networking software stack. In fact, many would contend that open source technologies are foundational and critical to how this happens. This adds in a community aspect to innovation, arguably accelerating its pace along the way. Which brings us back full circle to why people want this level of disaggregation – to have more control over how networking software is architected and written, and how networks operate.

Linux.com: How does the disaggregation of the networking stack help fuel innovation in other areas, for example edge computing and IoT?

Baher: Edge computing is interesting as it really is the confluence of compute and networking. For some, it may look like a distributed data center, a few large hyperscale data centers with spokes out to the edge for IoT, 5G and other services. Each edge element is different in capability, form factor, software footprint and operating models. And when viewed through a compute lens, it will be assumed to be inherently a disaggregated, distributed element (with compute, networking and storage capabilities). In other words, hardware elements that are open, standards-based and without any software dependencies. And software for the IoT, 5G and enterprise edge that is also open and disaggregated such that it can be right-sized and optimized for that specific edge task. So if anything, I would say a disaggregated “composite” networking stack is a critical first step for enabling the next-generation edge.

We’re seeing this with mobile operators as they look to NFV solutions for 5G and IoT edge. We’re also seeing this at the enterprise edge, in particular with universal CPE (uCPE) solutions. Unlike previous generations where the enterprise edge meant a proprietary piece of hardware and monolithic software, it is now rapidly transforming into a compute-oriented open model where select networking functions are selected as needed. All of this is made possible by disaggregating the networking functions and applications from the underlying operating system. A ‘not so big a deal’ thing if from a server-minded vantage point, monumental if you come from “networking land”. Exciting times once again in the world of open networking!

This article was sponsored by Dell EMC and written by Linux.com.

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Open Networking Summit

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ONS is the epicenter of idea exchange, decision making and project mapping across the open networking ecosystem. Attend this year, and join 2,000 architects, developers, and thought leaders to pave the future of networking integration, acceleration and deployment.

Newly Confirmed Keynote Speakers & Panelists:

    • Francis Arigo, Head of Architecture, Ticketmaster
    • Gavin Cato, SVP, Network Development Engineering, Dell EMC
    • Sarah Cooper, GM, IoT Analytics and Applications, Amazon Web Services
    • Alla Goldner, Director, Technology, Strategy and Standardization, Amdocs
    • Adan K. Pope, Chief Information Technology Officer, Ciena
    • Bill Ren, VP, Network Industry & Ecosystem Development, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
    • Chris Rice, SVP of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design, AT&T
    • Dan Rodriguez, VP, Data Center Group & General Manager, Communications Infrastructure Division, Intel
    • Jehanne Savi, Executive Leader, All-IP & On-Demand Networks Program, Orange
    • Ayush Sharma, SVP of Engineering and Technology, Reliance Jio
    • Chris Wright, VP and Chief Technology Officer, Red Hat

Event Highlights Include:

Developer Forums: LF Networking, Open Networking Foundation, and the Acumos Project will be holding developer forums on Monday, March 26 and the morning of Tuesday, March 27 prior to ONS to provide developers an opportunity for deep technical discussions, cross-project collaboration, hacking and more.

Onsite Attendee Reception & Solutions Showcase: Join fellow attendees for drinks, snacks, networking and the opportunity to check out 50+ demos and PoCs across the solutions showcase.

Workshops & Tutorials: Stay tuned for details on add-on workshops & tutorials taking place Monday, Tuesday and Friday at ONS from Ericsson, Intel and more.

Training Courses: Get deep-dive training post-event on OPNFV, ONAP, and more.

All-Attendee Reception: Join fellow attendees at the iconic Majestic Downtown for a night filled with great food, drinks, networking, and entertainment.

Morning activities: Start your day with a 5K Fun Run or Morning Meditation.

Symposium on SDN Research (SOSR): Provides an opportunity for industry and academia to jointly explore and debate recent developments related to all aspects of SDN.

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