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Introducing. Atrium.

Jun 9, 2015

We have some big news to share about our development of an open SDN software distribution.

ONF has been hard at work for the last couple of months, focused on giving end users a clear migration path to open SDN and leveraging open source software to lower the barrier to adoption. We’d like to introduce you to Atrium, our open SDN software distribution.

Atrium is a critical part of ONF’s vision for making open SDN more easily adoptable by organizations of all sizes. We see open source software as a critical step in the path to global SDN adoption of components that require interoperability. We designed Atrium to facilitate the adoption of open SDN by the networking industry, by integrating established open source SDN software with some critical connecting pieces, and building on software from many developers that has been developed within an open environment. This open setting ensures that the software is thoroughly tested by the community, helps network operators to build custom solutions with greater ease, allows vendors to take advantage of common building blocks, and reduces development costs while improving interoperability.

The first release, Atrium 2015/A, incorporates the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), the Open Network Operating System (ONOS), and Open Compute Project (OCP) components. The software elements run on either controllers or switches, communicate via the OpenFlow® protocol, and include plugin opportunities for other switching solutions to help foster an open ecosystem of interoperable, hardware-based OpenFlow® switches. Routing is often the most basic application operators want for SDN, and Atrium 2015/A includes Quagga BGP because it is a popular open source routing stack. Atrium 2015/A is built on ONOS because Quagga runs on ONOS, with which we have prior experience, and ON.Lab contributed engineering resources to help with the internal “flow objectives” interface and other integration efforts. But what about OpenDaylight (ODL) integration? Have no fear! We are currently working on an ODL release for later this year, so stay tuned.

So why did we call it Atrium? The word is derived from a Latin term that refers to an atrium as the central court or main room of a house where people came out of their own private spaces. Atrium is literally “a gathering place.” Given our Open Source SDN community atmosphere, we felt that Atrium reflected how we’ve approached the development of this distribution.

A distribution like Atrium shares software from many developers that has already been tested and integrated – in other words, it pulls best-of-breed offerings together and makes them readily available for ease of deployment. And boy, do we have quite a list of current contributors to Atrium! The following organizations contributed to the current release: Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet), Accton, Big Switch, Broadcom, Centec Networks, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO Australia), Corsa Technology, Dell, ESnet, Extreme Networks, NoviFlow, ON.Lab, and Pica8.

What is great about Atrium is that it will grow over time to give users freedom to choose the software that best fits their needs. We’ve already received great interest from a number of organizations that are contributing to future releases, including: Allied Telesis, Bristol is Open, British Telecom, BTI Systems, the Chinese Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), Ceragon Networks, CPqD, Criterion Networks, Deutsche Telekom, ECI Telecom, Facebook, Gigamon, Huawei, Infoblox, Ixia, Mellanox, Lenovo, Luxoft, NEC, NTT Group, P4.org, Riava, Sify Technologies, SM Optics, Spirent, Tencent, University of Bristol, University of Campinas, University of Lancaster, Wipro, and Zeetta Networks.

Over the last two years, ONF has undertaken open source software development as part of our mission to accelerate commercial adoption of open SDN. Atrium is the first top-to-bottom, soup-to-nuts open source implementation that someone can actually download from GitHub and use to run a real network. For a detailed list of what Atrium includes, please refer to our press release here. Atrium 2015/A will be available at the end of June via our GitHub repository, which can be accessed via www.opensourcesdn.org.

Atrium will be on display in the SDN Solutions Showcase at the Open Networking Summit, June 16 – 18 in Santa Clara, California. We hope you stop by the Showcase to see Atrium in action!

Stay tuned for more releases from our open SDN software distribution later this year!

- Dan Pitt, Executive Director

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Dan Pitt