November 17, 2020

Software-Defined Networks, OpenDayLight & Legacy Networks

This week ETI is “geeking out” and featuring our very own David Tidd, VP of Engineering. He takes a look at SDN, OpenDayLight and its how it affects overall architecture.

Some ask why Software-Defined Networks and OpenDayLight are not more widely deployed. This is a tricky question. Many of the vendors adopting this solution prefer that you replace your existing equipment to “software design” your network. ETI has a different view, it is our goal to service your legacy network as well as new technologies you choose to deploy. This provides our customers with a migration plan to SDN and NFV technologies while centralizing network functionality and intelligence.

Traditional vs Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

Traditional networking has network functionality all across the network, not centralized. SDN decouples network configuration and traffic engineering from the underlying hardware infrastructure to ensure complete and consistent control of the network using open APIs. This is the first step in avoiding vendor lock-in.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

NFV is a network architecture concept that uses the technologies of IT virtualization to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that connect and chain together in a modern communication network. This helps in 2 ways to cut costs:

  1. Reduces capital expenditures by using generic hardware, virtualizing the network node functions with software.
  2. Reduces operational expenditures by having a more programmatic solution, more re-use, and giving added value and functionality operationally from the minimalist capital expense.

NFV is the second step in avoiding vendor lock-in.

What is OpenDayLight?

OpenDayLight is a software platform for building SDN applications providing a common, open platform for service providers or developers, giving direct control over SDN development and implementation. This platform exists because no single SDN Application is fulfilling every company’s needs. OpenDayLight ships standard components like YANG Tools (dynamic API generation from YANG models), HA (high-availability) clusters, AAA security, plugins for NETCONF, OpenFlow, BGP/PCEP, and more protocols. These components are used as a foundation to support SDN applications and functions. While the primary purpose is to provide this foundation, OpenDayLight also ships a few applications for common use cases (NetVirt for cloud networking, transportPCE for optical transport, etc.).

This is the final step in avoiding vendor lock-in.

What OpenDayLight is NOT?

OpenDayLight is NOT a turn-key SDN controller. This is the biggest misconception. Proprietary solutions are turn-key and tightly integrated. OpenDayLight is not. The OpenDayLight controller is a software platform requiring development and integration to accommodate one’s specific use-cases. This effort is generally in the form of a northbound controller, SDN Business Logic Service, and southbound integration into devices using protocols such as NETCONF, OpenFlow, SNMP, BGP, PCEP, PCMM, etc. ETI’s investment in research, partnerships, global reach and diversity has placed us uniquely to capitalize on the OpenDayLight Software Platform for those we serve.

ETI’s SDN Controller Design

ETI’s SDN Controller is a quality assured edition of the industry leading OpenDayLight controller. This approach eliminates vendor lock-in, and places ETI and her customers in charge of their own network evolution.

Layering of microservices each adding another level of abstraction is key to ETI’s SDN controller design. An abstraction layer is something that hides implementation details and replaces it with more easily understandable and usable functions. In other words, it makes complicated things simpler to use. These layers can include hardware, programmable logic, and software. ETI embraces the SDN layers abstraction by implementing numerous micro-services orchestrated around the OSS.

ETI’s Architecture

With over 26 years and 150 controller interfaces of experience behind us, ETI’s embrace of SDN and OpenDayLight is allowing us to quickly innovate and merge legacy networks with new technologies. SDN and OpenDayLight are just two of the tools we use in our mission to help our customers reduce costs and offer next-generation services more reliably and affordably.