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April 21, 2017 by Alan DiCicco

CORD strikes a chord at ONS

The highlight of the Open Networking Summit for me was the Solutions Showcase, a thriving hands-on demonstration area featuring six stations dedicated to ONOS and CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter).

These demonstrations brought together a variety of open source software and OCP (Open Compute Project) data center hardware, with OLT/ONT, Carrier Ethernet, and optical transport systems, to demonstrate dynamic configuration of devices and services. Standing in the Showcase arena, it was easy to see how service providers could achieve automated service enablement through the power of standard interfaces and common data models.

Earlier this month, Calix introduced AXOS OFx (OpenFlow) Connector for the CORD open source project. OFx lives within the vOLT-HA (Virtual Optical Line Terminal-Hardware Abstraction) software module, a critical software component that isolates and translates between vendor agnostic OpenCORD software and vendor-specific management and control interfaces.

Here are the key benefits of this architecture for service providers: 

  • Isolation: The north-bound interface between vOLT-HA and the SDN controller remains constant – changes in the underlying access technology and/or the introduction of new vendor solutions are isolated from the SDN controller.
  • Translation: Access systems connect to the vOLT-HA though standardized “plugin” sockets – each vendor independently develops a plugin that translates between the vOLT-HA standard data model and the vendor-specific or technology-specific models.

Pretty cool, huh?

While many Ethernet switches have an OpenFlow interface for direct configuration of the forwarding tables using simple connection-oriented primitives, access systems rely on higher level “service” configuration that has many associated QoS and security attributes. AXOS OFx uniquely bridges between the low-level OpenFlow interface of the ONOS SDN controller and a service-oriented NETCONF/YANG management interface. In doing so, Calix enabled service providers to quickly integrate the entire family of award winning AXOS systems with their fully-modeled NETCONF/YANG management interfaces.

Calix is in the middle of many CORD trials showcasing the AXOS OFx Connector and E9-2 Intelligent Edge System, and we’ll be discussing those more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts about CORD, vOLT-HA, and all things Software Defined Access