OpenDaylight Introduces 'Boron' SDN Platform Release

The industry consortium's fifth release of its SDN platform puts a focus on the cloud, NFV, performance and tools.

network virtualization

The OpenDaylight Project effort to create a common platform for network virtualization continues to mature with the unveiling of the group's fifth release, dubbed "Boron."

The industry consortium announced the Boron release Sept. 21, a week before the OpenDaylight Summit kicks off in Seattle Sept. 27. Project officials said the new release brings with it improvements around the cloud and network-functions virtualization (NFV), and is the result of contributions by consortium members in a range of areas, including performance and tools.

"With Boron, the OpenDaylight platform cements its position as the de facto standard platform for building next-generation networking solutions," project Executive Director Neela Jacques said in a statement. "Boron further develops and standardizes support for the industry's leading use cases, while facilitating development of innovative new approaches to solving network-related business challenges."

Anshu Agarwal, head of solutions and partner development for Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE) Communications Solutions Business and an OpenDaylight board member, said in a statement that OpenDaylight has become an "open-source SDN [software-defined networking] standard for NFV use cases. Boron brings focus to the carrier-grade capabilities such as S3P [smart, safe and secure platform] and network virtualization, which are absolutely needed by these use cases."

SDN and NFV are designed to enable service providers and enterprises to build and run more programmable, flexible, automated and scalable networks to meet the growing demand from such emerging trends as the cloud, internet of things (IoT), proliferation of mobile devices and big data analytics. The technologies essentially remove the network control plane and various tasks, including firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, load balancing and routing, from the underlying hardware, putting it into software that can run on less-expensive, industry-standard systems.

The OpenDaylight Project was launched in 2013 with the idea of creating a common, open SDN and NFV platform that vendors could then build upon. Several other organizations, such as the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) are working on similar—and in many ways complementary—efforts.

The Boron release puts an emphasis on the cloud and NFV. The OpenDaylight group improved features related to the OpenStack open-source cloud technologies to enhance scalability and performance in such areas as high availability and persistence, and southbound enhancements around virtual network functions (VNFs) include optimization for the OpenFlow and NETCONF protocols as well as hardware VXLAN endpoint (VTEP) support and Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) improvements.

OpenDaylight's NetVirt project targeted OpenStack environments with better coordination between the OpenStack Neutron networking effort and the OpenDaylight controller, more support for IPv6, security groups, VLANs and other capabilities. OpenDaylight also has worked with OPNFV around such issues as service chaining, and OpenDaylight's Genius project brings an app-agnostic framework for application composition, according to consortium officials.

In the area of performance and tooling, OpenDaylight aimed to make it easier for SDN developers to access Boron. There are new cluster features to simplify high-availability management for applications on nondistributed networks, which officials said will make it easier for developers to write applications without having to understand the underlying hardware architecture.

Boron users also will find it easier to monitor the health of the controller due to work by the consortium's Cardinal project to deliver controller data health as a service. There also is big data analytics for streaming via Time Series Data Repository (TSDR) and OpenDaylight's Centinel project.

"With this fifth release, Boron, OpenDaylight has become more and more mature and can now be considered a key carrier-grade SDN solution for programmable, end-to-end networks," Jamil Chawki, SDN/NFV standards and open source manager for service provider Orange, said in a statement. "Important features have been included in this release like the Yang IDE tool, support of multi-network service for SFC [service function chaining] and advanced BGP L2/L3 VPN protocols."