Internet2 pilots SDN operating system

Internet2 pilots SDN operating system

Internet2 has deployed a new software defined networking operating system on a "virtual slice" of its national education network.

The Open Source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) went live in December, and since then various use cases have been implemented on it, including a graphical user interface that provides a view of the multi-layer network and "northbound abstractions" that allow applications and orchestration systems to program the network and request services from it.

This deployment has allowed the ONOS community to show the platform and the application’s ability to work with heterogeneous hardware devices, at scale, in a real network scenario. Early work in this space also generated useful feedback that is now included as part of the requirements for upcoming ONOS releases.

In this latest iteration, Internet2 is using the capabilities of SDN to provision virtual networks based on FlowSpace Firewall. The goal of that open source module is to provide the ability for multiple controllers to control a single OpenFlow switch without stepping on each other's flow rules. An ONOS cluster is deployed on the Internet2 network, controlling 38 OpenFlow-enabled Brocade and Juniper Network switches.

An SDN IP peering application is deployed atop ONOS connects and exchanges traffic with other traditional networks. That capability lets operators start the SDN deployment in any isolated environment and then leverage an SDN-IP peering type of application to connect this "SDN island" to the rest of the network and gradually expand it to the entire network at any pace. The hope for the centralized control plane is that its use will lead to significant improvements in network operation efficiency of the whole Internet2 network.

Five institutions — Duke University, Florida International University, Indiana University, the University of Maryland and the University of Utah — are connected to the ONOS project network.

"A primary feature of the Internet2 Network is its ability to serve as a 'playground' for piloting new advanced networking capabilities in a real-world environment with demanding users and advanced applications capabilities," said Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services at Internet2. "The ONOS and SDN-IP peering deployment is another demonstration of how Internet2 and the academic community continue to be a large scale platform in which pre-market innovations can be prototyped at scale."

This article originally appeared on CampusTechnology, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business. Send your higher education technology news to her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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