ONUG gets closer to making SD-WANs talk to each other

The networking user group will share some details of an API for interoperability this week

A group of networking engineers and vendors is making progress toward an API that would help enterprises merge SD-WANs from different vendors.

The Open SD-WAN Exchange (OSE) initiative was launched last year by the Open Networking User Group (ONUG) to solve a shortcoming of software-defined wide-area networks: They often can't talk to each other. On Tuesday at the ONUG Spring 2017 conference in San Francisco, OSE will make public the work it's done so far.

SD-WANs control links to branch offices and remote sites with software, which ultimately should eliminate proprietary hardware and dedicated routing schemes. They also allow companies to use regular broadband connections instead of more expensive MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) services.

But most SD-WANs built with different vendors' products can't communicate with each other, said Snehal Patel, a member of ONUG's board and a network architect at the retail company Gap.

That could be a problem after a merger or acquisition between two companies with separate SD-WANs. A lot of the agility and labor savings won through SD-WAN will be lost if the IT department has to go back to traditional networking to connect the two systems.

ONUG, a group of enterprise IT leaders advocating for technologies that better meet users' needs, has been working on this issue for several years and launched the initiative to solve it at the ONUG Spring 2016 conference. IT executives from companies such as Gap, Bank of America, BNY Mellon and FedEx are working with vendors including Cisco Systems and Huawei Technologies.

SD-WANs can interpret and carry out policies for things like when a branch-office connection should switch from the internet to a private link to maintain performance. They're based on industry standards, but vendors interpret those standards differently, so their network controllers can't communicate policies and commands, Patel said.

Those controllers may someday talk directly to each other. But for now, OSE wants vendors to build a policy orchestration layer that can talk to all of them.

Developing the API is one part of this effort. It will define things like whether there needs to be a persistent connection between the controllers and the orchestrator and what happens if a controller loses contact with the orchestrator.

The group has already finished most of its work, according to OSE Co-Chair Steve Wood, a principal engineer at Cisco. It's defined the requirements for the API, the architecture it will use, and other elements. OSE plans to publish the technical specifications during the summer for review by ONUG members, who include networking experts from hundreds of enterprises.

At last year's spring conference, ONUG also launched three other initiatives, which have had different trajectories.

The Open Traffic Management Format group pushed for a way to bring together management data from different physical and virtual network devices so it could be analyzed together. This could help determine the effects of system failures. Another project, the Open Network State Format, would be for data about the current state of network devices, so big-data techniques could be used for better real-time management. Those two efforts have been merged into a Monitoring and Analytics initiative.

The other project, for an Open Interoperable Control Plane, didn't fare so well. The OICP would work within data centers, connecting different parts of the infrastructure that are built on different architectures, such as OpenStack and VMware vCenter. Vendors and users met at workshops last year, but the effort is now on hold, according to Nick Lippis, co-founder and co-chairman of ONUG. He blamed stiff competition among vendors.

"On that one, we pushed the pause button, because the vendors don't want to play with each other," Lippis said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?