CESNET participates in a new configuration for OpenFlow switches

Brno, 12 May 2015. At the close of last year, the Open Networking Foundation decided to popularise and verify the functionality of the OF-CONFIG configuration protocol, which is intended for network switches with OpenFlow protocol support. As a partner, it chose CESNET, a domestic association that is engaged long-term in the development of configuration tools. The project, which has expanded the open-source implementation of the OpenFlow software switch – Open vSwitch, which is obviously the most popular at present, is now in its closing phase of construction of the user community.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a concept that is often mentioned recently, which should ensure a more flexible, faster and cheaper development of networks and new net technologies. The core of SDN continues to be the OpenFlow protocol and the base element of the SDN network is the OpenFlow switch. However, with the increasing popularity of SDN, many proprietary, mutually incompatible technologies and all sorts of extensions have also emerged. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) was therefore created for standardisation of SDN.

One of the areas in which the ONF is engaged and in which we can see a variety of approaches intended to solve the same problem, is the configuration of OpenFlow switches. For this reason, the ONF came up with standardisation in the form of the OF-CONFIG protocol, which is now coming to the attention of manufacturers.

As per agreement with the Open vSwitch (OVS) community, CESNET was requested to create an extension that facilitates the configuration of OVS via the OF-CONFIG protocol whereas the entire development would be financed from the ONF funds and the result would be available as an open-source. “We perceive this as positive appreciation of our work in the area of development of configuration tools. We have evidently created a very good reputation in the world,” says Radek Krejčí of the TMC Department of the CESNET Association on the offer of co-operation.

After three months of intensive work on the project, it is possible to configure Open vSwitch using the standardised OF-CONFIG protocol. “The actual project has been concluded successfully, and at present we are only solving user support and making an effort in co-operation with the ONF and OVS developers to build a user and developer community so that the project can continue to function independently,” says Tomáš Čejka, one of the other developers.

The ONF continues co-operating with the CESNET Association in the preparation of a new version of the OF-CONFIG protocol. This is also proof of the extent to which the ONF values the experience of the association in the area of development of tools for administration of network devices.

The Open Network Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, which was founded in 2011 by a consortium comprising Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon and Yahoo!. It is focused on the promotion and adoption of the concept of Software Defined Networking through the development of open standards. It emphasises an open, collaborative development process that is driven from the end-user perspective.

The CESNET Association was founded by Czech universities and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 1996. It is engaged in research and development in information and communication technologies and builds and develops the CESNET national e-infrastructure for research and education. With its research activities and accomplishments, CESNET represents the Czech Republic in international projects, most notably the pan-European GÉANT network building project and grid projects (EGI.eu), and participates actively in their implementation.

Last change: 14.5.2015