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OpenSourceSDN.org Releases Two Intent-Based Interface Open Source Software Projects

Open Networking Foundation-Sponsored Open Source Projects Aspen and Boulder Highlight Need for Network Portability and Agility Through Intent-Based Code 

PALO ALTO, Calif., September 23, 2015 – The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the adoption of open Software-Defined Networking (SDN), today announced the availability of two intent-based Northbound Interface (NBI) open source projects developed by the OpenSourceSDN.org community, Aspen and Boulder. Earlier this year, ONF announced its plans for expanding its work in open source software development with the creation and sponsorship of the OpenSourceSDN.org community, and it announced the development of Atrium 2015/A, a software distribution integrating previously standalone open source components. The two intent-based projects build on these efforts as part of ONF’s ongoing mission to create an ecosystem and architecture that bring open SDN to network operators around the world.

“Intent-driven systems are a perfect example of the benefits of abstraction that SDN provides,” said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation. “Applications are freed from having the details of the network infrastructure built into them and thus being subject to change every time there is a change in the network. They need to convey only the intent, from an application standpoint, of what they need from the network, making network programmability a reality for a much larger audience. ONF agrees that the time is right for intent-based networking with an open source approach, and we have developed these use case-driven projects with open source implementations to speed operator adoption of open SDN and avoid multiple proprietary, vendor-specific approaches.”  

The open source project Aspen was developed by ONF in collaboration with the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC) Unified Communications (UC) SDN Activity Group that created a use case specification for automating UC Quality of Experience (QoE), along with HP, Microsoft, and NEC to address automation in multimedia network performance requirements. As multimedia and UC applications increase in popularity, enterprises and service providers are looking for solutions that help in automating Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure great media quality while reducing network complexity and cost. Aspen provides code for a real-time media NBI through an OpenFlow® service, allowing applications to leverage SDN to automate QoS for any multimedia service such as voice, video or any real-time media communications. With the real-time media NBI, multimedia traffic is identified, treated and provisioned with assured priority and bandwidth on the network to ensure the traffic is differentiated from other non-real time sensitive traffic, thereby giving end users a high quality multimedia experience.

“Due to their immediate nature, sensitivity to disruption and pervasive spread, multimedia applications are the consumer touch point for the technology. With so much activity in Unified Communications and network quality, lots of vendors are getting engaged in building a healthy ecosystem for open SDN,” said Pascal Menezes, principal program manager of the Skype for Business Product Group at Microsoft. “The development of open SDN applications like Aspen is an important step for the ecosystem in order to bring the multimedia application requirements of network QOS into an automation model.” 

The ONF NBI Working Group collaborated with Ciena, Inocybe Technologies, and HP in the development of project Boulder on OpenSourceSDN.org. Boulder was designed to specify the architecture and initial information model for an intent-based interface to the SDN controller. This project focuses on the semantics and information models that allow applications to tell networks what they need. Boulder is designed to enable intent-based portability across different controller platform solutions and provides a layer that shields application developers from all of the specifics of controller implementations, allowing for the creation of a large ecosystem across different domains of the network. It also provides both declarative and imperative approaches for writing applications through its scripting environment. Boulder was created to work closely with multiple open source infrastructure controllers such as OpenDaylight (Network Intent Composition project), the Open Network Operating System (ONOS), and OpenStack to provide a native implementation of the information model and community extended capabilities. It is dual-licensed under both Apache Software License and Eclipse Public License so that it can be leveraged in other controller projects.

“Intent is compelling because of the ease-of-use and portability benefits it brings to network operators,” said David Lenrow, open networking architect at HP Networking. “An intent-based network controller NBI has several additional benefits from an architectural perspective. This is a critical interface between cloud orchestration systems and SDN controllers. An intent solution will support the kind of portability, composability, and scalability demanded by the cloud. Boulder makes this possible as it is a solution for application portability as well as SDN application co-existence.”

For more information about project Aspen and Boulder, please visit: http://opensourcesdn.org/ossdn-projects/.

ONF will host a free webinar discussing Aspen and Boulder with SDx Central on September 30 at 10 a.m. PDT. For more information and to register for the webinar, please visit: https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/featured/intent-driven-networking-onf-webinar/2015/09/

Projects Aspen and Boulder will be demonstrated during the SDN Solutions Showcase at the Layer123 SDN & OpenFlow World Congress taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany, October 12 – 16, 2015. To register for the event, please visit: http://www.layer123.com/sdn. For more information about the SDN Solutions Showcase, please visit: https://onfstaging1.opennetworking.org/sdn-solutions-showcase-2015

About ONF
Launched in 2011 by Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo!, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a growing nonprofit organization with more than 140 members whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of open SDN. ONF promotes open SDN and OpenFlow technologies and standards while fostering a vibrant market of products, services, applications, customers, and users. For further details visit the ONF website at: https://onfstaging1.opennetworking.org.