ONOS project, Linux Foundation form strategic partnership

The ONOS community hopes to expedite the advantages service providers can get from software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) by collaborating with the Linux Foundation in a strategic partnership.

The partnership will help ON.Lab/ONOS "transform service providers' infrastructure for increased monetization by achieving high capex and opex efficiencies and creating new innovative services using the power of open source SDN and NFV," according to a press release. The Linux Foundation will assist ONOS to "organize, grow and harness the power" of a global community to take ONOS and the solutions enabled by it to the next level of production and readiness.

The ONOS project has issued four open source releases since last December, according to Guru Parulkar, executive director and board member at ON.Lab/ONOS project. Before the partnership with Linux, ONOS wanted to build a core engineering team, develop a platform and use cases, and that's what it has done over the last couple of years. Now that it has a solid team, "a very good platform," use cases and engagement of service providers and vendors, "we believe this is the perfect time to partner with Linux Foundation," Parulkar told FierceWirelessTech.

ONOS continues to have a strong relationship with service providers like AT&T (NYSE: T), NTT Communications, SK Telecom and China Unicom, as well as vendors. It also has relationships with other service providers outside those formal partnerships, he said.

A number of service provider solutions enabled by ONOS have been demonstrated, including CORD, for Central Office Re-architected as Data Center, as well as packet optical convergence, SDN-IP peering and others.

Forging relationships with developers is something Linux is well-known for. "This partnership with the Linux Foundation will really help us organize this open source developer community, nurture them and harness the power of the open source developer community" around the globe, he said.

Certain things will continue as business as usual after the collaboration. ON.Lab and the ONOS project will continue with their respective boards, and while the Linux Foundation has its OpenDayLight (ODL) SDN controller development under way, there are no plans to merge the two. "There is no talk of ONOS merging with ODL," he said.

ONOS also overlaps with the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), a separate program catering to operators, but ONOS is really focused on SDN. That said, NFV and SDN are very closely linked, he noted. NFV is one of the critical applications of SDN, especially in the service provider context.

OpenDaylight Executive Director Neela Jacques, who is often asked about the synergies and differences between ONOS and OpenDaylight, said he believes ONOS' move with Linux is good for the industry and good for OpenDaylight even though there may be short-term challenges.

While noting that ONOS' strong focus on a specific set of technologies and use cases has allowed it to produce a set of "very interesting innovations," it's clear that "ONOS would have to substantially evolve if it wanted to become a contender for the role of de facto industry SDN and NFV platform," Jacques said in a blog post. "I do not believe this is likely or makes sense."

OpenDaylight already has a code base on which more than 20 solid solutions have been built and deployed in carrier, service provider, enterprise, research and academic networks. "We have a mature governance model, and a thriving end user community… The most obvious solution is for the two projects to come together more closely," he said.

He added that there are teams in the OpenDaylight community already working on replacing parts of the ONOS code base with code from OpenDaylight to allow end users to meet critical needs such as the ability to manage multiple different hardware types through a range of southbound protocols. "ONOS joining the Linux Foundation makes it easier to facilitate collaboration as we rationalize where and when it makes sense," he said.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
OPNFV expects to deliver first software release next month
Why AT&T, Verizon, Ericsson and the rest of the industry is embracing SDN and NFV
SK Telecom, Korea Telecom, Spirent join OPNFV

Article updated to include remarks from OpenDaylight Executive Director Neela Jacques.