ONF's Stratum open switch OS available on TIP's Cassini open hardware

ONF ports its Stratum open source switch operating system onto TIP's Cassini hardware. (Pixabay)

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced its Stratum open source switch operating system (OS) software is now available on Cassini optical transport hardware from the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). The ONF said it is the first open source operating system for Cassini, which is a network switching platform with integrated optical transponders.

Stratum is part of ONF's Unified, Programmable and Automated Network (UPAN) Exemplar Platform, which is working on the next generation of SDN for ONF's membership. Stratum is a silicon-independent switch operating system for software-defined networks that runs on a variety of switching silicon and various white box switch platforms.

Stratum makes integration of new devices into operators’ networks easier. It was originally designed by Google, which is an operator member of ONF, before it was put into open source with ONF.

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"We've ported Stratum, which is a project that's been working on a white box switch operating system, into the Cassini platform," said ONF's Timon Sloane, vice president of marketing and ecosystem. "Now you get all the benefits of Stratum on the Cassini box. All of the optical capabilities have been exposed using these next gen SDN interfaces on Cassini with Stratum, and that gets plugged into the whole ODTN (ONF's Optical Disaggregated Transport Network) so we have an end-to-end solution. That's an end-to-end open source controller, open source software and open hardware to build an optical transport solution."

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ONF takes a software-centric approach using disaggregation, white boxes and open source for its operator members while TIP focuses on creating the availability of white box hardware for the telecom sector. The collaboration means ONF is creating open source software that can run on the TIP hardware as an optional software stack—with other stacks coming from commercial offerings or elsewhere—while TIP is pushing white box hardware that the ONF can use in its platforms and solutions.

Based largely on Google's use, the Stratum thin switch OS is the industry’s leading open source switch operating system for data center white box switches supporting next-generation SDN interfaces, including P4, P4Runtime, gNMI and OpenConfig.

Recently, Stratum's functions were expanded to support configuration and management of optical parameters including wavelength, modulation and optical power. These new capabilities enabled Stratum to be deployed on the white box Cassini platform from TIP.

Last year, ONF’s ODTN project demonstrated end-to-end orchestration of a network of Cassini-based systems in field trials. The demonstration used the open source ONOS controller from ONF and the open hardware from TIP, as well as proprietary embedded software running on the Cassini platform.

By porting Stratum on to Cassini, an open SDN-native solution stack becomes available for addressing Data Center Interconnect (DCI) use cases. With the integration of Stratum on Cassini, ONF said it now offers the industry's first fully open, end-to-end optical transport solution, including open software, open hardware and open APIs and Yang models.

Cassini hardware includes integrated Broadcom switching silicon that's used by Stratum to offer Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality via P4Runtime. Combining control and configuration capabilities from Layer 0 to Layer 4, Stratum controlled by ODTN can be deployed as a platform for Data Center Interconnect solutions, serving both as a spine for “leaf-spine” type architectures within the datacenter and as a optical transponder for the inter-datacenter connections.

"We've blended and leveraged our multiple projects together and out of this created a really powerful open hardware, open software solution for the optical space," Sloane said.

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