Originally developed by ON.Lab and now part of the Linux Foundation, the ONOS project aims to reduce the costs of building and running large networks; to provide an alternative to proprietary products and technology; and to meet the scale, availability and performance requirements of service providers and big enterprises.
The project is funded by 16 partners, which provide both financial and engineering support. Partners include AT&T, Huawei, Intel, Verizon, Cienna, Samsung, Google, and Fujitsu.
The project doesn’t create commercial products, but partners and other organizations can. For instance, Huawei recently announced its Agile Controller 3.0, which is based on ONOS and targets the data center, campus, and WAN. Huawei is the second largest code contributor to ONOS after ON.Lab.
Given that ONOS is on a quarterly release cycle, the new features in Hummingbird are modest, but they do support the projects’ goals of scale and availability.
For instance, the Hummingbird release enhances controller peering, including the ability to have multiple controllers share topology information. Work is also underway on a protocol for controllers to communicate and interoperate.
Hummingbird has also enhanced driver support for P4, the programming language that can instruct a switch, including a switch ASIC, on how to process packets.
The new release also adds support for the RabbitMQ message bus to let existing applications interact with the ONOS controller and share event data.
A complete list of new features is available here.
ONOS And ODL
ONOS isn’t the only SDN platform within the Linux Foundation. The organization also houses the OpenDaylight (ODL) Project, an open-source SDN controller.
I had categorized ODL as an enterprise play, and ONOS as a telco/service provider package, but OpenDaylight has touted the project’s uptake by telcos and service providers, both for deployments and code contribution.
To my mind, it seems problematic to have two SDN projects under the same umbrella organization competing for resources (engineering, development, testing, building use cases, etc.) from the same pool.
But Bill Snow, VP of engineering at ON.Lab, said that the size of service providers, and the variety of requirements they have, creates enough space for both projects.
“They’re probably using ODL and ONOS in different scenarios,” he said in an interview. He says they use ODL to model and automate existing networks.
“If they want to really change the network and how they operate, they are doing field trials and proofs of concept with ONOS.”
ONOS Hummingbird is available now to download.