Ciena to Offer Commercial Version of ONOS SDN Operating System

The company in the first quarter 2016 will launch Blue Planet ONOS to help service providers embrace SDN and NFV for their data centers.

network virtualization

Ciena early next year will release a hardened, fully supported commercial version of the ONOS open-source operating system for virtualized networks, which initially will be aimed at telecommunications companies that are looking to migrate their legacy infrastructures to software-defined networks.

Company officials said last week that Ciena's ONOS (Open Networking Operating System) will be released in the first quarter 2016, after ON.Lab—which is developing the operating system—launches the next release of the OS, which will be dubbed "Falcon."

The hardened operating system will be named Blue Planet ONOS and will be part of Ciena's Blue Planet network software division.

The goal is to give service providers a version of ONOS that is carrier-grade and will enable them to create highly agile and scalable network infrastructures that will allow them to drive down costs, find new sources of revenue and more quickly spin out services to meet the rapidly changing demands of customers. It also will come with support and services from Ciena's software team.

At the same time, Ciena officials said they will stay true to the open-source nature of ONOS—which is being developed under the auspices of the Linux Foundation—by ensuring that any enhancements or bug fixes that Ciena makes to the operating system will be fed back into the open-source community, according to Abel Tong, senior director of solutions marketing at Ciena.

"Ciena's commercial sponsorship of ONOS represents a tremendous step forward for open networking because users now have access to a hardened, commercial grade, fully supported version of ONOS to use in production environments," Tong wrote in a post on the company blog. "Ciena will be providing enhancements, service and support for Blue Planet ONOS much like Red Hat does for Enterprise Linux, Mirantis for OpenStack and Cumulus Linux for embedded Linux on data center switches.

"A commercial ONOS means service providers have a solid and supported foundation from which to launch new mission critical SDN [software-defined networking] and NFV [network-functions virtualization] offerings. And ultimately, it's the customer that benefits from these dynamic services," he wrote.

ONOS is one of a growing number of open-source efforts around SDN and NFV, with other groups including the Open Networking Foundation, Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) and the OpenDaylight Foundation. The groups are working on developing common, open frameworks for network virtualization that vendors can leverage in their own initiatives. ON.Lab, created by researchers from Stanford and the University of California Berkeley who initially helped develop SDN technology, launched ONOS in November 2014.

The SDN and NFV market is expected to grow quickly over the next several years. Analysts with Research and Markets are predicting investments in SDN and NFV will grow 54 percent a year, hitting $20 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.

Earlier the month, the ONOS community unveiled "Emu," the fifth new release of the platform this year. Among the new capabilities in ONOS are contributions from Huawei Technologies around support of OpenStack and OPNFV's "Brahmaputra" release, Fujitsu on a resource reservation subsystem, and SK Telecom around the CORD (Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center) effort, which is aimed at providing the tools to service providers to develop next-generation data centers.

Ciena's commercial ONOS offering initially is targeting CORD projects, officials said.

The vendor's embrace of ONOS is a significant step for the project, according to Guru Parulkar, co-founder and executive director of ON.Lab and chairman of the ONOS board.

"In one short year, we have gone from inception to commercial maturity," Parulkar said in a statement. "This is a validation of the power of open source innovation."

Ciena in August rapidly grew its software capabilities when it bought Cyan for $400 million. After the deal closed, company officials announced the 800-employee Blue Planet software division that includes its Agility business, SDN Multilayer WAN Controller, V-WAN, Agility matrix and network management offerings. It also includes Cyan's network software applications, including Planet Orchestrate and Planet Operate.

The company in its fiscal year 2015 generated revenue of $2.4 billion, an increase over the $2.3 billion the previous year. Ciena made $179 million in FY2015; in the previous year, Ciena made $65.8 million.