The software involved is truly an experiment and not a product. It was run by ADVA and the University of Essex , on ADVA's FSP 3000 system, as part of the project called OpenFlow in Europe, Linking Infrastructure and Applications (Ofelia).
OpenFlow is typically discussed as a Layer 2 technology. The trick in ADVA's experiment was to keep the protocol informed of optical-layer issues that OpenFlow wasn't built to handle -- such as having to consider whether a certain wavelength color is already passing through a particular node.
Why this matters
The promise of OpenFlow is a simpler and more flexible way to control networks, starting with the separation of the data and control planes. Interestingly, optical-networking vendors did this years ago with generalized MPLS (GMPLS).
But GMPLS comes from the telecom world, whereas OpenFlow is what's hot in data centers and research networks. Hence, those circles are showing interest in seeing what OpenFlow can do in other contexts, such as the optical network, says Jörg-Peter Elbers, ADVA's vice president of advanced technology.
More generally, vendors are trying all kinds of experiments with OpenFlow; you can see a few racks' worth of them at Interop , which is ending Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas. (ADVA isn't within 500 miles of Interop; executives spoke with Light Reading from Germany on Wednesday.)
- OpenFlow's Optical Connection
- Cisco Broadens Its Software-Defined Networking
- Google Uses OpenFlow Massively
— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading