Google: OpenConfig Grows, Goes Commercial

Carol Wilson
News Analysis
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large
2/19/2015



SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The New IP -- The informal gathering of networking giants now known as OpenConfig has produced vendor-neutral configuration and operational state models for border gateway protocol (BGP) and routing that are already being implemented by Google and will be used natively in vendor gear and in other networks this year, Google's principal architect said here today.

Bikash Koley, who is also manager of network architecture for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), kicked off The New IP event with a rapid-fire keynote that spanned the short history of the effort to produce open data models that ultimately enable a programmable management plane for large-scale complex networks of thousands of devices from multiple vendors. (See Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models.)

Since the last public statement on its successful launch of a vendor-neutral Yang model called BGP Configuration Model for Service Provider Networks, the OpenConfig effort has added new members to the original partnership of Google, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). Those include Cox Communications Inc. , Facebook , Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). The group has also added Yang models for routing policies, he said.

By focusing engineering resources without "paperwork, papers signed or lawyers involved," this diverse set of large network operators has moved quickly to enable Yang-based data models that essentially apply the principles of SDN to configuration management, making it easier to manage multi-vendor network platforms and devices across large-scale global networks.

"The same kind of management principles we have applied to the network in SDN need to be applied to the whole network, not individual devices," Koley said. "The only way we have been able to do this is through network abstractions and APIs."


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The OpenConfig work is being published through GitHub-based open source process -- the code is here, but available on an invite-only basis -- and service providers are downloading it, Koley noted. The group has already reached out to its vendors and is working with the vendor community to make sure the models it develops are actually workable in the real world, he said.

The idea is not to replace the standards process -- OpenConfig has already presented its BGP data model to the IETF, for example -- but to speed it up and augment that work, Koley noted.

Next up for the group, in addition to continual expansion of members, is to address data models for MPLS/TE and a device meta-model. Both of those are in progress, Koley said, as well as additional data models, and more extended native implementation discussions with multiple vendors.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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