ANAHEIM, Calif. -- OFC/NFOEC -- Optical transport is officially being welcomed into the OpenFlow fold.
The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which is curating the OpenFlow standard, has approved a working group for optical transport. Word of this was getting around here after Marc Cohn, an ONF member working for Ciena Corp., brought it up during a presentation here Monday.
The group will recommend extensions to OpenFlow to make the protocol talk to optical networks. A time frame for doing this hasn't been determined.
The structure of the working group hasn't been determined, either. All the major systems vendors will probably be involved, though, considering they've been hanging out with the ONF's optical discussion group. Those names include Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Ericsson AB, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Infinera Corp..
Verizon Communications Inc. has also been part of the discussion group -- which is a formal entity inside the ONF, but one where people just talk about stuff rather than actually make changes.
Why this matters
OpenFlow started as a protocol for an external controller to issue commands to Ethernet switches. It could become more powerful if it could communicate with the optical network as well, optical vendors have argued, and they've been working hard to get a voice in the ONF.
You can't escape the marketing implications, either. OpenFlow is cool, and optical networking now gets to be part of its entourage.
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â€” Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading