The Evolution of UC SDN with Project Atrium Enterprise Edition

17 Apr 2016

Well, UC SDN just got some great news with the extension of an existing open source project called Atrium, while 2015 found SDN in the trough of disillusionment1. To date, most SDN adoption has been in hyperscale cloud environments and/or large-scale service provider data centers2. Many mainstream organizations are aware of SDN but do not know where to start2. With production SDN deployments at 4%3 today, Open Networking Foundation (ONF) Open Source SDN launched Project Atrium over a year ago with the ambition to accelerate SDN adoption by reducing the barrier to entry into the world of SDN.

Project Atrium addresses two specific challenges to SDN adoption:

1) Integration Gap - While there are multiple choices at each layer of a complete SDN stack, there are missing pieces and poor or no integration.

2) Interoperability Gap - This exists both at the product level and at the protocol level making it difficult to connect an arbitrary SDN switch and controller. This also exists in the application level making it difficult to write portable applications across SDN controllers.

Atrium addresses these challenges in close collaboration with network operators to address specific use cases by developing near production quality SDN distributions that are fully integrated and interoperable.

So why should the UC community care? Two releases, seven vendor integrations and three ongoing trials of Atrium BGP Router/Spine Leaf Fabric later, the community is working on a fully integrated and interoperable distribution for Enterprise UC&C deployments.

Project Atrium Enterprise Edition is developing to IMTC use-case specifications a QoE service and an Automated Diagnostics and Reporting service on the latest OpenDaylight (ODL) SDN controller release. The solution will provide integrated wired-wireless support, a choice of Openflow 1.3 data planes and a seamless brownfield migration. On the southbound it is expanding the fundamental construct of flow objectives developed in prior Atrium releases to provide ubiquitous Openflow 1.3 multi table pipeline programming across qualified enterprise vendor offerings. On the northbound it is developing the Network Intent APIs (slated for both ONOS & ODL SDN controllers) as the integration interface for a multitude of UC&C applications - VLC, Skype For Business (SfB) to name a few (see diagram below). Community development is guided by a newly formed Enterprise Advisory Board that deploy UC&C and are intimately familiar with deployment and operational challenges.

Network Intent APIs graphic

The first release is slated for June 30 2016. Minimally it will provide the capability to map Skype for Business SDN Interface requested QoS capabilities to a wired network with interoperability of two or more Openflow 1.3 vendors that the distribution could run on. Stay tuned as more use cases get built including support for Wi-Fi.

If you are an enterprise IT operator or developer and want to get involved, then please join the conversation at [email protected]. Project Atrium Enterprise Edition is looking for enterprises to get involved joining their newly formed Customer Advisory Board. If you are a developer and really want to make an impact in the retooling on networking as we know it, then please jump in and participate. I know I am even though these days as the newly appointed CTO for MEF I find myself extremely busy.

[1] Hype Cycle for Networking and Communications, July 2015.

[2] Beyond the Hype: SDN delivers real-world benefits in Mainstream Enterprises, Oct 2014.

[3] Gartner Customer Survey.


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