UNH-IOL debuts SDN Consortium for industry-wide collaboration that includes switch test bed

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), a provider of broad-based testing and standards conformance services for the networking industry, launched Wednesday the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Consortium to enable one-stop shopping for controller and switch interoperability,conformance and benchmark testing. Solutions based upon SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies boost efficiency and control, and help enterprises prepare for the rise of internet of things (iot)-driven network complexity and challenging big-data resource requirements.

With a large collection of SDN switches, the UNH-IOL is making its multi-million-dollar test-bed and professional services available to SDN application and controller vendors and other stakeholders in this emerging market.

The primary goal of the SDN Consortium, which officially opens on Aug. 1, is testing SDN applications and controllers against SDN switches, whether OpenFlow, NetConf, RestConf or others. Interoperability testing is available from the start, whereas conformance and benchmarking will follow the requests of SDN Consortium members. At this stage in market development, stakeholders have a particular need for benchmarking, or assessing a SDN controller’s adherence to industry standards and expectations, the number of connections it can support, and its speed and functionality. Direct and remote access to the UNH-IOL’s extensive SDN switch test-bed will give SDN Consortium members a competitive edge in supporting rapid deployment of their applications and services.

With enterprises finding SDN an increasingly essential aspect of managing and deploying complex data-driven services, the SDN Consortium will provide the SDN ecosystem with critical and unique testing capabilities supporting rapid deployment of trusted applications. Annual membership fees to join the SDN Consortium are US$20,000, and pay-per-test fees are available.

This launch follows upon the UNH-IOL’s Open Networking Foundation (ONF) AppFest, held at the lab’s facility in May. The ONF AppFest tested ONF member software against several OpenFlow switch environments and various SDN controllers, for a variety of purposes. Some participants were testing for protocol conformance with the OpenFlow 1.3 spec; others for functionality against a series of software controllers (including ONOS, OpenDaylight, and Ryu); while others were looking for ways to optimize the performance of their software by utilizing the ONF’s set of performance benchmarking tools.

“Testing at the UNH-IOL’s well equipped facility saved us critical development time as we were able to interconnect with other participants,” said ONF AppFest participant Alexander Rumyankov, chief product officer for Brain4Net. “We are eager to expand our relationship by joining the SDN Consortium to utilize the UNH-IOL’s extensive permanent test beds and continue our use case testing.”

As the need for SDN-driven network efficiency grows, the market is looking for guidance on how technologies and products that make up the infrastructure of the internet work together, conform to standards and otherwise meet industry requirements.

Application and controller vendors, network operators, user groups, data centers and others can benefit from a one-stop, collaborative shop for SDN testing that reduces the risk of applications not working with a particular switch, makes the management and deployment process run more smoothly and accelerates time to market.

Rather than maintaining expensive in-house test facilities, SDN Consortium members benefit from leveraging the UNH-IOL’s dedicated, third-party resources with SDN testing capability.

“Companies turn to the UNH-IOL not only for our world-class testing facility and deep bench of experience, but also as a gathering place that can deliver effective and much-needed collaboration,” said Timothy Winters, UNH-IOL Senior Executive, Software and IP Networking. “We are ready to help current and prospective members solve SDN-related test problems, smooth out deployments and develop new ideas for efficient networking.”

In addition to the recent AppFest, UNH-IOL experience in open standards testing and technologies includes participation in and hosting of other events for the ONF, as well as the Open Networking User Group (ONUG) and the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV). In a related initiative, the UNH-IOL is an approved lab for the ONF Conformance Certification Test Program. In January, the UNH-IOL joined the OPNFV project and is helping to organize plugfests to build confidence in the current and upcoming OPNFV releases.

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