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OpenFlow love-in shows off SPEED-DATING protocol, quick config

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SDN umbrella group the Open Networking Foundation is performing happy dances after an interoperability plug-fest that ran from November 4 to November 8.

The week-long demonstration focussed on testing version 1.3 of the OpenFlow protocol, and testing the OF-Config management/configuration capability written into version 1.1.1.

Hosted at Spirent's lab in Sunnyvale, vendors followed a “speed-dating” format, which El Reg supposes meant that kit had to be able to interoperate without pre-arrangement. According to the Open Networking Foundation, the tests covered switches, controllers and applications.

The ONF is touting impressive numbers emerging from the tests, with Ixia's Michael Haugh highlighting a test that achieved “1.1 flow table entries on a switch”: serious stuff in a big data centre but probably moot for most of the world.

Of greater significance is the ongoing interoperability work, since even if a data centre operator starts out life signed onto a single vendor, big networks have a habit of straying from the flock.

OF-Config is currently in its third revision, with its most recent advance, the notification framework, currently in ratification. The mechanism is designed to let switches pass on event notifications to configuration points, SDN controllers, clients and managers.

Notification events include things like changes to attribute values, various alarms, creation and deletion of objects, exceptions like operational violation, physical violation or security violation, and so on. OF-Config uses a publish-subscribe model (CORBA, anyone?) to pass on notifications.

Given the scale that the SDN world talks about – for example, the 1.1 million flow table entries mentioned by Haugh – interoperability is a big deal, which explains the ONF's enthusiasm for its week-long test, which the group said generated “hundreds of testing permutations and completing several months of work during one week-long event”.

Participants in the plug-fest included Alcatel-Lucent, Beijing Internet Institute (BII), Ciena, Freescale, HP, IBM, Infoblox, the Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE), Ixia, Luxoft, NEC, Netronome, NoviFlow, NTT Communications, Spirent Communications, Tail-f Systems, and Vmware.

To anyone who wants to draw conclusions from any names missing from the list, El Reg can only say “you might think that; I couldn't possibly comment”. ®

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