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OpenDaylight Releases Beryllium, Touts Traction

Two years after it released its first open SDN platform, the OpenDaylight Project today launched its fourth iteration, Beryllium. The updated software was designed to meet the needs of what OpenDaylight leaders say is a rapidly growing number of users and contributors.

Billed as “production-ready,” Beryllium was produced with an eye on improving performance, scalability, and stability. “We’ve taken it from something that you could play with in the lab to something major companies would put into production,” Colin Dixon, technical steering committee chairman, told me.

To that end, Beryllium includes better clustering capabilities and database sharding to enable distributed controller deployments to improve scalability and availability. It also features improved OpenStack integration with Neutron API enhancements. “We focused incredibly hard on closing the feature gap” with the default Neutron plug-in to boost scalability, performance and security, Dixon said.

With Beryllium, ODL also focused on making the platform more accessible to developers with expanded northbound API support and a broader set of tools.

OpenDaylight Executive Director Neela Jacques told me that many different types of organizations are using OpenDaylight, including service providers (which make up the biggest group), enterprises, universities, and vendors that are incorporating ODL into their products.

“What we’ve seen in the last year is end users playing with it, actively testing it and putting it into production,” he said.

According to ODL, 629 people contributed code to Beryllium, up from 502 for its last release, Lithium, and way up from the 154 involved with the first Hydrogen release. The number of end users either deploying or testing the platform has grown to nearly 100 in January, up from about 65 last July. Top use cases include automating delivery of new services, network resource optimization, visibility, and cloud, Jacques said.

OpenDaylight, a Linux Foundation project founded in 2013 by18 vendors, including Cisco and Intel. It now counts 50 members.

Shamus McGillicuddy, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, told me in an email interview that a recent EMA survey of 76 early SDN and NFV adopters in the communication service provider market showed significant traction for OpenDaylight with 32% reporting that they had adopted ODL in their networks. However, 36% reported adopting the newer Open Network Operating System.

He noted that from the outset, ONOS has been focused on being a highly scalable SDN platform for service providers while ODL has a broader focus on both enterprises and service providers. “So ONOS’ slight advantage may be a reflection of its focus,” McGillicuddy said.

In an EMA survey of 150 early enterprise SDN adopters, 23% cited open source software as an important characteristic they look for in an SDN solution. “This means that when an enterprise sets about selecting an SDN solution, nearly one-quarter of them are telling their vendors that open source software is essential to the technology they adopt,” he said. “I would argue that the prominence of ODL in the SDN industry over the last few years has probably contributed to this perception.”

ODL needs to push the envelope on scalability and performance “because many network architects remain dubious that a centralized controller can scale as well as a distributed control plane,” McGillicuddy said. “This is an issue for SDN in general, not just ODL.”

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