Open Networking Foundation’s Stratum project aims to make generic gear more programmable
The #OpenNetworking Foundation has launched a new #opensource project that aims to create a reference platform for generic networking gear known as “ #whiteboxes” to make them more easily programmable. The project, called @Stratum, will also support a new set of #softwaredefinednetworking interfaces created by the group, which are designed to make the data plane more programmable. Rising adoption of #SDN and also network functions virtualization or #NFV has provided a healthy boost to the success of white-box manufacturers in recent years. By separating the control plane, network operating system and networking tasks from the underlying hardware, organizations have been able to run software on unbranded switches and servers that cost significantly less than branded counterparts from companies such as @Cisco Systems Inc. and @Juniper Networks Inc. The shift has been especially beneficial for the biggest “ #hyperscale” cloud data center operators such as @Google Inc. and @Facebook Inc. Those have been able to push ever-increasing amounts of traffic through their infrastructures while keeping costs under control even as demand increases by using cheaper white boxes from original design manufacturers. Now, the ONF wants to increase the adoption of SDN, NFV and white boxes even more by making unbranded gear easier to use. That’s what the new Stratum project is all about. “The network should be as easy to program as a server,” Nick McKeown, a professor at Stanford University and cofounder of ONF, said in a statement. “By lifting protocols out of hardware and into software, we will unleash a Cambrian explosion of innovation in networking, just as we have seen in compute.” More specifically, the Stratum project aims to create an open-source reference platform that organizations can use to program their white box gear more easily. Stratum is designed to be used with both existing and upcoming hardware, the ONF said.