IEEE ComSoc SCV and Santa Clara University present the following visual panel session:
Open Source vs Proprietary Software Running on Disaggregated Hardware
Time & Date: 9am PDT May 1, 2023
Backgrounder – Open Networking and Open Source Network Software
Open Networking was promised to be a new paradigm for the telecom, cloud and enterprise networking industries when it was introduced in 2011 by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). This “new epoch” in networking was based on Software Defined Networking (SDN), which dictated a strict separation of the Control and Data planes with OpenFlow as the API/protocol between them. A SDN controller running on a compute server was responsible for hierarchical routing within a given physical network domain, with “packet forwarding engines” replacing hop by hop IP routers in the wide area network. Virtual networks via an overlay model were not permitted and were referred to as “SDN Washing” by Guru Parulkar, who ran the Open Networking Summit’s for many years.
Today, the term Open Networking encompasses three important vectors:
- A) Beyond the disaggregation of hardware and software, it also includes: Open Source Software, Open API, Open Interoperability, Open Governance and Open collaboration across global organizations that focus on standards, specification and Open Source software.
- B) Beyond the original Data/Control plane definition, today Open Networking covers entire software stack (Data plane, control plane, management, orchestration and applications).
- C) Beyond just the Data Center use case, it currently covers all networking markets (Service Provider, Enterprise and Cloud) and also includes all aspects of architecture (from Core to Edge to Access – residential and enterprise).
Open Source Networking Software refers to any network related program whose source code is made available for use or modification by users or other developers. Unlike proprietary software, open source software is computer software that is developed as a public, open collaboration and made freely available to the public. There are several organizations that develop open source networking software, such as the Linux Foundation, ONF, OCP, and TIP.
Currently, it seems the most important open networking and open source network software projects are being developed in the Linux Foundation (LF) Networking activity. Now in its fifth year as an umbrella organization, LF Networking software and projects provide the foundations for network infrastructure and services across service providers, cloud providers, enterprises, vendors, and system integrators that enable rapid interoperability, deployment and adoption.
In this virtual panel session, our distinguished panelists will discuss the current state and future directions of open networking and open source network software. Most importantly, we will compare open source vs. proprietary software running on disaggregated hardware (white box compute servers and/or bare metal switches).
With so many consortiums producing so much open source code, the open source networking community is considered by many to be a trailblazer in terms of creating new features, architectures and functions. Others disagree, maintaining that only the large cloud service providers/hyperscalers (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook) are using open source software, but it’s their own versions (e.g. Microsoft SONIC which they contributed to the OCP).
We will compare and contrast open source vs proprietary networking software running on disaggregated hardware and debate whether open networking has lived up to its potential.
- Roy Chua, AvidThink
- Arpit Joshipura, LF Networking
- Run Almog, DriveNets
Moderator: Alan J Weissberger, IEEE Techblog, SCU SoE
Host: Prof. Ahmed Amer, SCU SoE
Co-Sponsor: Ashutosh Dutta, IEEE Future Networks
- Opening remarks by Moderator and IEEE Future Networks – 8 to 10 minutes
- Panelist’s Position Presentations – 55 minutes
- Pre-determined issues/questions for the 3 panelists to discuss and debate -30 minutes
- Issues/questions that arise from the presentations/discussion-from Moderator & Host -8 to 10 minutes
- Audience Q &A via ZOOM Chat box or Question box (TBD) -15 minutes
- Wrap-up and Thanks (Moderator) – 2 minutes
Panelist Position Statements:
- Roy will examine the open networking landscape, tracing its roots back to the emergence of Software Defined Networking (SDN) in 2011. He will offer some historical context while discussing the main achievements and challenges faced by open networking over the years, as well as the factors that contributed to these outcomes. Also covered will be the development of open networking and open-source networking, touching on essential topics such as white box switching, disaggregation, OpenFlow, P4, and the related Network Function Virtualization (NFV) movement. Roy will also provide insight into the ongoing importance of open networking and open-source networking in a dynamic market shaped by 5G, distributed clouds and edge computing, private wireless, fiber build-outs, satellite launches, and subsea-cable installations. Finally, Roy will explore how open networking aims to address the rising demand for greater bandwidth, improved control, and strengthened security across various environments, including data centers, transport networks, mobile networks, campuses, branches, and homes.
- Arpit will cover the state of open source networking software, specifications, and related standards. He will describe how far we have come in the last few years exemplified by a few success stories. While the emphasis will be on the Linux Foundation projects, relevant networking activity from other open source consortiums (e.g. ONS, OCP, TIP, and O-RAN) will also be noted. Key challenges for 2023 will be identified, including all the markets of telecom, cloud computing, and enterprise networking.
3. Run will provide an overview of Israel based DriveNets “network cloud” software and cover the path DriveNets took before deciding on a Distributed Disaggregated Chassis (DDC) architecture for its proprietary software. He will describe the reasoning behind the major turns DriveNets took during this long and winding road. It will be a real life example with an emphasis on what didn’t work as well as what did.