Vello Systems has initiated the Open Source Optical (OSO) Forum , which is chartered to promote new user models for both enterprise and cloud service provider customers. The forum brings together optical component and system vendors, software companies, channel partners and end-users looking to promote the adoption of standards-based, interchangeable, easy-to-use, and power-efficient optical networking technologies into next-generation data centers and cloud environments. The aim of the group is to spur the adoption of open source optical solutions in data center and enterprise networks by providing an “open optical” counterpart to the rapidly growing world of merchant-Ethernet-based Software-Defined Networks (SDN). The initial charter members of OSO include Vello, Accelink, CoAdna, CrossFiber, O-Net, PacketLight and Pacnet with more companies and organizations expected to be announced over the coming weeks.
According to Vello, it is software interoperability among multiple optical solution vendors that makes OSO possible and breaks the existing model of expensive vendor-locked optical systems that dominate the market today. To this end OSO will provide and maintain community-supported open source software that will power a variety of merchant-optical systems from current and future OSO members. This Open Source code will reside on the consortium's web site .
Initially, some OSO members will simply port OSO software onto their existing optical systems, making them instantly compatible with OpenFlow controller and application frameworks. Other members may choose to build next-generation Native OpenFlow, enterprise-friendly 10G/40G/100G 1RU “pizza box” optical systems, or other appliances, as their go-to-market solutions. Moving forward, any software solution that supports OpenFlow 1.4 can also be used to run OSO-based optical solutions. Vello will also be making the optical extensions generally available to be incorporated into other OpenFlow network controller frameworks.
OSO software will include the optical extensions that are part of OpenFlow Version 1.4, which were authored and contributed by Vello in the Open Networking Foundation. This means that OSO-based systems can be deployed and configured directly alongside OpenFlow-based Ethernet switches from a single screen, completely eliminating today's requirement of complex optical system commissioning. This unprecedented orchestration of packet and optical network assets has never been attempted until OSO and promises to not only accelerate the penetration of optical technology into the data center – by making it easy to use and in an enterprise form factor — but also provide new tools to enhance the way IT systems and services are purchased and consumed by end users.
“The convergence of IT and telecom is having a profound impact on the optical transport layer. Rapid advances in SDN/NFV software technology are creating new opportunities for companies to collaborate and solve networking problems that were unimaginable only a few years ago,” said Ron Kline, Principal Analyst, Network Infrastructure, Ovum. “OSO OpenFlow-based software combined with merchant optical equipment has the potential to radically change the data center interconnect market enabling low-cost white box approaches to optical connectivity that operators ultimately crave.”
Initially OSO will be focused on data center and enterprise solutions as, among other reasons, data centers are becoming clusters in metro areas and enterprises are running more ultra-high-speed (100Gb/s link) networks. OSO also anticipates folding in long-haul optical solutions under its umbrella over time.