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Category: OpenFlow

Faucet Deep Dive on Software Gone Wild

This podcast introduction was written by Nick Buraglio, the host of today’s podcast.

In the original days of this podcast, there were heavy, deep discussions about this new protocol called “OpenFlow”. Like many of our most creative innovations in the IT field, OpenFlow came from an academic research project that aimed to change the way that we as operators managed, configured, and even thought about networking fundamentals.

For the most part, this project did what it intended, but once the marketing machine realized the flexibility of the technology and its potential to completely change the way we think about vendors, networks, provisioning, and management of networking, they were off to the races.

We all know what happened next.

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Using Faucet to Build SC18 Network with OpenFlow

Remember how Nick Buraglio tried to use OpenDaylight to build a small part of SuperComputing conference network… and ended up with a programmable patch panel?

This time he repeated the experiment using Faucet SDN Controller – an OpenFlow controller focused on getting the job done – and described his experience in Episode 101 of Software Gone Wild.

We started with the usual “what problem were you trying to solve” and quickly started teasing apart the architecture and got geekily focused on interesting things like:

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Is Anyone Using Open Daylight?

A while ago I sent out an email to my SDN and network automation mailing list (join here) asking whether anyone uses Open Daylight in anything close to a production environment (because I haven’t ever seen one).

Among many responses saying “not here” I got a polite email from VP of Marketing working for a company that sells OpenDaylight-related services listing tons of customer deployments (no surprise there).

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Response: On the Death of OpenFlow

On November 7th SDx Central published an article saying “OpenFlow is virtually dead.” There’s a first time for everything, and it’s a real fun reading a marketing blurb on a site sponsored by SDN vendors claiming the shiny SDN parade unicorn is dead.

On a more serious note, Tom Hollingsworth wrote a blog post in which he effectively said “OpenFlow is just a tool. Can we please find the right problem for it?

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OpenFlow and Firewalls Don’t Mix Well

In one of my ExpertExpress engagements the customer expressed the desire to manage their firewall with OpenFlow (using OpenDaylight) and I said, “That doesn’t make much sense”. Here’s why:

Obviously if you can't imagine your life without OpenDaylight, or if your yearly objectives include "deploying OpenDaylight-based SDN solution", you can use it as a REST-to-NETCONF translator assuming your firewall supports NETCONF.

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Is OVSDB a Control- or Management-Plane Protocol?

A while ago I discussed whether XMPP is a control- or management-plane protocol (spoiler: it depends). How about OVSDB? Here’s another question from one of my readers:

Why is Openflow considered as control plane protocol and OVSDB management plane protocol if both are relying on SDN controller? Is it because Openflow can directly modify the dataplane?

SDN controllers can use control- or management-plane protocols to get the job done.

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Response: Are Open-Source Controllers Ready for Carrier-Grade Services?

My beloved source of meaningless marketing messages led me to a blog post with a catchy headline: are open-source SDN controllers ready for carrier-grade services?

It turned out the whole thing was a simple marketing gig for Ixia testers, but supposedly “the response of the attendees of an SDN event was overwhelming”, which worries me… or makes me happy, because it’s easy to see plenty of fix-and-redesign work in the future.

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Scalability of OpenFlow Control Plane Network

This article was initially sent to my SDN mailing list. To register for SDN tips, updates, and special offers, click here.

I got an interesting question from one of my readers:

If every device talking to a centralized control plane uses an out-of-band channel to talk to the OpenFlow controller, isn’t this a scaling concern?

A year or so ago I would have said NO (arguing that the $0.02 CPU found in most networking devices is too slow to overload a controller or reasonably-fast control-plane network).

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Table Sizes in OpenFlow Switches

This article was initially sent to my SDN mailing list. To register for SDN tips, updates, and special offers, click here.

Usman asked a few questions in his comment on my blog, including:

At the moment, local RIB gets downloaded to FIB and we get packet forwarding on a router. If we start evaluating too many fields (PBR) and (assume) are able to push these policies to the FIB - what would become of the FIB table size?

Short answer: It would explode ;)

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Should We Use OpenFlow for Load Balancing?

Yesterday I described the theoretical limitations of using OpenFlow for load balancing purposes. Today let’s focus on the practical part and answer another question:

I wrote about the same topic years ago here and here. I know it’s hard to dig through old blog posts, so I collected them in a book.

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