The OpenDaylight Project announced the first release of its open source SDN software. OpenDaylight's inaugural Hydrogen release comes in three flavors for three different use cases.
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While this software release has practical uses, engineers need to keep in mind that this is not commercial technology that they can drop directly into production networks. Rather, OpenDaylight Hydrogen is the foundation for new and forthcoming commercial products from the vendors who are collaborating on the open source technology. Enterprise engineers can experiment with Hydrogen, but they shouldn't expect enterprise-grade features and robustness. They also shouldn't expect commercial support for the software.
When engineers download OpenDaylight, they should use the software as an opportunity to learn about SDN. Whether or not a market truly emerges for OpenDaylight-based products, there is no denying that a lot of work has gone into making the software useful. More than 150 developers have contributed more than 1 million lines of code to Hydrogen.
OpenDaylight Hydrogen Base Edition
As I mentioned, OpenDaylight Hydrogen comes in three flavors, one of which is the Hydrogen Base Edition, an SDN starter kit. It comes with a modular controller that supports OpenFlow 1.3 and Open vSwitch Database configuration, and it can be extended to support other SDN protocols via the Java-based OSGi framework.
Hydrogen Base Edition is the software that engineers should download if they want to familiarize themselves with SDN in general. It's useful for proofs of concept, particularly for OpenFlow networking. SDN researchers will also find the software useful, especially compared to some of the more barebones open source OpenFlow controllers out there.
OpenDaylight Hydrogen Virtualization Edition
Hydrogen Virtualization Edition is an expanded version of Base Edition that includes several modular enhancements that enable the creation and operation of virtual network overlays in data centers. It ships with contributions from several vendors. Open DOVE is a multi-tenant overlay architecture based on software from IBM. Hydrogen Virtualization Edition also includes Defense4All, a distributed denial-of-service protection framework contributed by Radware; Affinity Metadata Service, a set of application programming interfaces for expressing relationships between workloads and service levels contributed by Plexxi; and Virtual Tenant Network, a network virtualization application using OpenFlow.
With Hydrogen Virtualization Edition, one starts to see how vendors will commercialize OpenDaylight. Open DOVE is a version of IBM's Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet, a VXLAN-based overlay platform that the company formally contributed to OpenDaylight last year. On the same day that OpenDaylight released it as part of Hydrogen, IBM announced Software Defined Network for Virtual Environments, an overlay product with a controller based on the Hydrogen release. But it also ships with IBM's virtual switch software, gateways to non-SDN environments, OpenStack integration and various other commercial enhancements.
OpenDaylight Hydrogen Service Provider Edition
Hydrogen Service Provider Edition is also an expanded version of Base Edition. It includes Plexxi and Radware's contributions. Additionally, it ships with software that enables traffic engineering with the BGP routing protocol library and topology model (based on BGP Link State or BGP-LS) and the path programming model (based on Path Computation Element Protocol or PCEP).
Service Provider Edition also includes Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol Flow Mapping, a service that enables virtual networks that service chain virtual network functions. This service supports network functions virtualization (NFV).
Finally, the service provider code includes SNMP4SDN, a package that adds SNMP protocol support and application programming interfaces that enable the controller to manage commodity Ethernet switches.
Engineers can expect companies like OpenDaylight member Ericsson to release products based on this code. Perhaps Cisco will get around to doing something with Service Provider Edition, too. However, Cisco has been mostly quiet on the telco SDN front, aside from its Network Convergence System, a series of programmable routers that it claims will have utility in SDN and NFV.