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First Open Source Software-Defined Networks Tool Released

The first open source tool for software-defined networks (SDNs) was released this week. The project was underwritten by the Linux Foundation.

Called Hydrogen, the software was released by the foundation's OpenDaylight Project at its first summit held in Santa Clara, Calif.

While SDNs are still emerging, they promise to create the level of network required for elastic infrastructure services for cloud computing and applications requiring scalability and high performance. Ensuring interoperability will be key to convincing enterprises and service providers alike to invest in SDN.

The Hydrogen framework is downloadable code that was engineered to provide a standard platform to create interoperable SDNs and network functions virtualization (NFV), a modern approach to building next-generation datacenters. The framework incorporates the OpenFlow standards originated by the Open Networking Foundation.

Looking to bring that work to the open source community, the Linux Foundation launched the OpenDaylight Project last April. Key participants in OpenDaylight include Cisco, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Intel and Brocade.

Hydrogen is designed to create programmable SDN-based infrastructure and NFV-based networks that can connect large and widely scalable datacenters. The Hydrogen code released this week includes plug-ins based on the OpenFlow specifications for defining SDNs.

Based on more than a million lines of code, OpenDaylight released three editions of its Hydrogen framework: a base, for those looking to experiment or build proof of concepts; virtualization, intended for datacenter deployments and managing virtual tenant networks and virtual overlays; and service provider for carriers and those operating commercial infrastructure.

In concert with the release of Hydrogen, IBM announced an OpenDaylight-based SDN controller called the Software Defined Network for Virtual Environments (SDN VE), designed to automate and accelerate the provisioning of SDNs.

"Our goal is to take advantage of the openness of the OpenDaylight platform and deliver that advantage to clients by collaborating with other developers to establish an ecosystem of interoperable network applications and services," said Inder Gopal, IBM vice president of System Networking Development, in a statement. IBM said SDN VE will be available this quarter.

Hydrogen currently only supports Fedora and Ubuntu virtual machines, though vendors are likely to add support for other VMs. For example, IBM's new SDN VE supports VMware and KVM. The Hydrogen release available for download here from the OpenDaylight Project.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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