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Transport SDN: It’s Time to Share!

December 10, 2020
By Teresa Monteiro
Director of Solutions, Software and Automation

How multi-vendor interoperability enables widespread deployment of transport SDN

As I highlighted in my recent blog Transport SDN: It’s Time to Get Real, support for open, standard APIs and the use of common data models are the means to ensure seamless integration of automation solutions into the operational environments of network operators.

OIF’s recent announcement of the completion of its multi-vendor 2020 Transport SDN Application Programming Interface (API) Interoperability Demonstration is another step toward wide-scale deployment of commercial transport SDN. This demo focused on SDN-based programmability, control, and automation at Layer 0 and Layer 1, enabled by ONF’s Transport API (T-API) over RESTCONF at the northbound controllers and by OpenConfig APIs at the device level.

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Figure 1: OIF infographic explaining the 2020 Transport SDN API Interoperability Demo

As highlighted in OIF’s presentation at NGON &DCI World Digital Symposium 2020, this year’s OIF demonstration built on the events that took place in 2016 and 2018. The 2020 T-API tests focused on compliance with the recent ONF TR-547 TAPI v2.1.3 Reference Implementation Agreement, with use cases spanning from topology and service discovery to inventory collection, connectivity provisioning, and notification subscription for status synchronization and fault management. The first takeaways from the demonstration are that the products being tested show a high level of maturity and are ready for production, with TAPI v2.1.3 models implemented by all vendors and the RESTCONF-compliant API supported with few deviations.

Infinera’s Transcend transport SDN solutions have already proven their interoperability and support for an open architecture in the previous OIF SDN interoperability demonstrations, but once again this year Infinera proudly participated in these activities, and is looking forward to hearing the complete readout of results, planned for January.

It is reassuring to see that there is a growing understanding among network operators that multi-vendor SDN interoperability is critical when moving into open optical networks, as it provides a unifying – and simplifying – control layer across the otherwise disaggregated network.

This increased perception is also giving rise to initiatives like TIP-MUST, a sub-group recently created by Deutsche Telekom, MTN, Orange, Telefónica, Telia Company, and Vodafone in the Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT) group within the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). The main objective of MUST, which stands for Mandatory Use Case Requirements for SDN for Transport, is to accelerate and drive the adoption of SDN standards for IP/MPLS, optical, and microwave transport technologies, focusing on the most relevant use cases for major operators.

Infinera is a strong supporter of these efforts to define frameworks for transport SDN – so much that, in recent years, we have co-chaired the TIP-CIMA (Controls, Information Models, and APIs) workstream within OOPT that paved the way for TIP-MUST.

The reference architecture proposed by TIP MUST, recently presented at Layer123 World Congress and shown in Figure 2, corresponds to that used in the 2020 OIF Transport SDN interoperability demo and is fully supported by Infinera’s SDN products. The main use cases under discussion in TIP MUST, including inventory and network topology exposure, service provisioning and activation, and traffic engineering, are also well supported by Transcend thanks to Infinera’s close work and cooperation with some of the key operators driving these standardization efforts. Infinera continues to evolve its products and their interfaces through ongoing discussion with leading operators, as these initiatives and corresponding standards mature and detailed requirements are established, to support and implement shared frameworks for SDN interoperability.

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Figure 2: TIP-MUST Open transport SDN architecture vision