March 31, 2015
Several small networking and software companies are teaming up to introduce CloudRouter, an open source router to simplify cloud migration.
"We went into this with the intent of writing an open source router that can run anywhere," says Jay Turner, project lead at CloudRouter and senior director of DevOps at IIX, a provider of software-defined network interconnects based in Mountain View, Calif.
Compute and networking are moving from physical infrastructure to a combination of physical, virtual and cloud. Network control logic was "strictly relegated to proprietary, hardware-based platforms" but "we are seeing broader adoption of open source software-based platforms. We initiated the CloudRouter project in order to simplify this migration to the cloud without forcing users to abandon control over network routing and governance," Turner says.
The router is designed to help network operators make the transition from onsite hosted solutions to the cloud. "One of the side benefits of moving to a software solution and traditional hardware is that it breaks the reins on that vendor lock-in," Turner says. The software can run in conjunction with network operators' existing infrastructure.
CloudRouter can run on bare metal, as a virtual image in a hypervisor, or in container images in the cloud, Turner says. The software "incorporates the latest release of OpenDaylight to provide secure network programmability to enable software-defined networking (SDN) and create a solid foundation for network function virtualization (NFV) for networks at any size and scale," CloudRouter said in a statement. The project will "maintain a stable and up-to-date Linux distribution based on Fedora." (See Open Source CloudRouter Debuts.)
The beta is available now for download at cloudrouter.org.
CloudRouter will initially see enterprise deployments, but the authors expect it to move to carriers as the software matures.
"We're seeing a genuine need for a Linux distribution dedicated to incorporating the latest and greatest of open-source SDN technologies, such as the OpenDaylight project, delivered in modern cloud and container formats such as OSv and Docker," says IIX CTO Paul Gampe.
The other backers of CloudRouter are:
CloudBees, which provides solutions for IT organizations for software delivery based on Jenkins CI, an open source server for continuous integration (CI) software development.
Cloudius, which provides an operating system for web-scale workloads such as NoSQL, running in the cloud only on a hypervisor. The beta software now runs on AWS.
NGINX, which provides support for the open source NGINX software, comprising web server, load balancer, caching and media streaming.
OpenDaylight, the open source SDN controller project.
But how much support will CloudRouter get? Anybody can say they're launching an open source project, and license code accordingly. But successful projects require significant commitments of funding and staff support.
IIX "will provide multi-million dollar support by way of staff and other considerations," Gampe says.
CloudRouter fills a need for IIX and its customers, for a router distribution optimized for the cloud inside its platform architecture. "Given we were intending to build the CloudRouter we felt it was appropriate for us to make this work available to the open-source community." Gampe says.
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The CloudRouter Project will "formalize a sponsorship program for organizations to contribute financially or in-kind to the Project" in the "near future," Gampe says.
The past year has seen a flurry of vendors offering software routers, including Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). (See Alcatel-Lucent Joins Virtual Router Race, Telefónica Proves Brocade Router Performs for NFV and Cisco Beefs Up Carrier Routing.)
CloudRouter is still in early days yet -- backed by a few small companies and a not-for-profit, with software just released in beta. It's light years from being ready to replace proprietary switches in Tier 1 carrier networks. Vendors that serve those networks shouldn't be worried. But they should be looking over their shoulders. After all, Linux started as a one-person project by a college kid too broke to be able to afford to license Unix.
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