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OIF and ONF partner for Transport SDN demonstration
Announced Date: 6/30/2014 Published Date: 7/1/2014

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced they have partnered to address transport software defined networking (Transport SDN) and will collaborate during 2014 on a global Transport SDN demonstration in several carrier-hosted labs.

The testing, which is scheduled to begin in late August in global carrier labs, will combine the OIF's carrier representation, knowledge of transport networks and interoperability testing experience for optical equipment with ONF's expertise and experience with the OpenFlow protocol and SDN architecture. OpenFlow extensions for optical transport developed in the ONF optical transport working group will be prototyped during the demonstration.

The two organisations have a shared objective of making the network more programmable to enable a new era of dynamic services including, as an example, bandwidth-on-demand, which could both address inter-enterprise bandwidth peaks resulting from data transfers between data centres and enable optimised utilisation of network resources. The groups are also aiming to enable improved network efficiency and agility, lower opex, enhanced revenue generation and improved ROI.

It was noted that the OIF is currently working on several initiatives in support of Transport SDN, including a carrier-driven requirements document and an SDN framework document identifying SDN application programming interfaces for a carrier environment. Meanwhile, the ONF is engaged in carrier-focused initiatives including SDN transport, mobile and wireless network applications, carrier-grade SDN, and large-scale network migration.

At the organisation's recent quarterly meeting, OIF members voted to begin work on a specification for Virtual Network Services (VNS) that could become a key driver for deployment of SDN in transport networks. VNS is achieved by 'slicing', or dividing, underlying network resources and presenting them to the customer or application as a virtual network (VN). Under this project, the group was to assess potential classification of VNS depending on the customer or application needs for varying levels of control of VN resources.

In addition, the OIF held a Transport SDN workshop in Berlin in May that followed an event hosted in California earlier in the year.

In March, the ONF and European standards body ETSI announced a strategic agreement to further the development of network functions virtualisation (NFV) specifications, to include exploring how SDN can enable forwarding-plane support for key NFV use cases. In particular, the two organisations planned to collaborate on enabling dynamic, programmable virtualised network function (VNF) forwarding graphs.