Linux Foundation Launches IO Services Framework

Open source project aims to speed networking and storage in cloud environments.

Marcia Savage

February 11, 2016

2 Min Read
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With backing from Cisco, Intel and other industry heavyweights, the Linux Foundation on Thursday unveiled an initiative that it says fills a gap in open networking projects by providing a framework for IO services.

The foundation described its open source Fast Data Project ( as a modular, hardware-independent framework that "supports rapid development of high-throughput, low-latency and resource-efficient IO services." The project aims to advance the state of the art of network and storage infrastructure.

The other vendors supporting are Brocade, Cavium, Comcast, Ericsson, Huawei, 6WIND, Inocybe Technologies, Mesosphere, Metaswitch Networks, PLUMgrid, and Red Hat.

In an email interview, Mike Dolan, VP of strategic programs at the Linux Foundation, told me is a "fully functioning programmable vSwitch/vRouter" using the Data Plane Development Kit. The initial code contribution for the project is Vector Packet Processing from Cisco. VPP, which the foundation says is "two orders of magnitude faster than other open source options," runs on multiple architectures.

Open networking projects like OpenDaylight, Open Platform for NFV, and Open Network Operating System address orchestration and network controller capabilities, but IO services have not been addressed, according to the foundation. ODL, OPNFV and ONOS are all Linux Foundation projects.

"Existing open networking projects each serve a very important purpose, but there currently doesn’t exist an open data I/O framework to deliver dynamic data plane services," Dolan said, explaining how came about.

"The growing adoption of cloud-first strategies in the enterprise and the subsequent growth of provider infrastructure gave rise to the need for services that are scalable, efficient and rapidly extensible. Many industries are actively investing in alternate approaches to deliver dynamic services using a standard server," he said. "Multiple open source network control plane (controllers) projects continue to mature to provide viable solutions at the non-local level (centralized approach); will serve the local level."

Dolan said project will support multiple deployment models including cloud, network functions virtualization, containers, bare-metal networking, and storage.

The initial release of includes an OpenDaylight management agent and a Honeycomb agent to simplify integration with OpenDaylight and other SDN technologies. The foundation expects's capabilities to expand into firewalling, load balancing, IDS, and additional SDN protocol support. also announced an open source, automated framework to test code functionality and performance. The Continuous Performance Lab will enable to ensure performance and stability for each software release.

About the Author(s)

Marcia Savage

Executive Editor, Network Computing

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