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Stratum Now Powers Trellis and ODTN Opening the Door to Embedding Network Functions into the Fabric

Mar 5, 2020
Brian O'Connor
Brian O'Connor About the author

Since Stratum’s open source release in September 2019, the community has been actively working towards productization and production deployments along with the introduction of new features and switching platforms. Here are some of the highlights:

The Stratum community has previously demonstrated the integration of Barefoot Networks (now an Intel company) Tofino-based Stratum switches and Trellis, ONF’s production grade, SDN fabric. Today, we are adding three new significant features to that demonstration:

  1. Stratum’s Broadcom implementation has been extended to support Trellis. This involved extending the Broadcom pipeline description to include MPLS and other Trellis dataplane features in Stratum as well as in ONOS. This pipeline description is designed for Broadcom StrataXGS®  switching line, but should also be portable to the Broadcom StrataDNX™ switching line in the future. These enhancements make Stratum an attractive option for Trellis users.
  2. With recent contributions from PLVision, Edgecore and ONF, Stratum now supports Edgecore’s CASSINI packet transponder, which contains a Broadcom Tomahawk+ switching ASIC. We can now use these devices as part of the Trellis fabric, enabling them to serve dual purpose as MPLS forwarders and packet transponders. This is the first time the device has been used in both roles simultaneously, and it represents an important milestone towards unifying ONF’s Trellis and ODTN reference designs. For operators, this integration equates to reduced overhead, power, and space without compromise.
  3. Stratum now offers users a choice between Broadcom’s OpenNSA and SDKLT for Tomahawk® switches. The addition of OpenNSA will pave the way to support additional ASICs in the Broadcom StrataXGS (Trident, Tomahawk) and StrataDNX (Qumran) families. OpenNSA directly exports functionality from Broadcom’s SDK, which is used in production by some of the largest operators in the world.

In December 2019, Google, ONF, and the community released TestVectors, a set of integration tests for Stratum switches and a system test framework for running them. TestVectors enables the community to qualify new versions of Stratum and new switches quickly and seamlessly. TestVectors is now part of Stratum’s CI pipeline, and the latest code is now automatically tested on real switches, bolstering our comprehensive test picture. TestVectors and the CI pipeline demonstrate how switches can now be continuously certified to work with the latest software releases, giving operators more confidence in rapid roll out.

Stratum is becoming the platform of choice for deploying network functions onto P4-programmable hardware. Deutsche Telekom, ONF, and the community have been working on SD-BNG, a project that aims to embedded the user plane of the Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) on Stratum-power switches. This will enable the BNG functions to run at line rate as a native part of the SDN fabric, removing specialized hardware and its additional cost and management complexity.

In parallel, Dell, Intel, ONF, Netcope, and the community have been working on porting the BNG user plane to the Intel N3000 FPGA Smart NIC. The Netcope toolchain is used to compile the BNG P4 program for the FPGA NIC, and Stratum has been extended to support NIC cards and to run on a server. Benu Networks has ported their commercial grade BNG control plane to support Stratum’s P4Runtime interface, and the team is pushing this solution towards customer trials. This work gives users a choice when it comes to running network functions on general purpose forwarding devices, an important tenet of the ONF’s SDN architecture.

Finally, the vendor community, led by Dell and ONF, has worked hard to significantly improve Stratum’s platform manager and add the necessary configuration files to run Stratum on switches from Dell, Delta, Edgecore, Inventec, QCT, and Stordis.

Learn More and Join Us!

If you’d like to see Stratum in action, please register to attend one of the upcoming webinars, “ONF Open Source Solutions Enable Data Center Interconnect and Broadband Access”. It will feature a demonstration of ONF’s Stratum switch OS and an overview of some of the exciting new features of the latest Stratum release, including support for ONF’s Trellis and ODTN solutions. In addition, will also demonstrate the integration of ONF’s SEBA, a virtualized broadband access solution, and Stratum projects.

Webinar Registration Details:

  • March 17th – 10am San Francisco, 1pm New York City, 5pm London, 6pm Berlin
  • March 18th – 8:30am India, 11am China (March 17th, 8pm San Francisco

We would also like to welcome you to join the Stratum community. There are a lot of ways to get started:

Thanks to everyone in the community that helped us get to this point, and we are looking forward to your (continued) participation!

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Brian O'Connor
Brian works on open source SDN platforms at the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). He is currently serving as the technical lead for the Stratum project and is a member of the ONOS project’s technical steering team. Brian received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from Stanford University, where his academic focus spanned theory, systems, and computer networking. Out of the office, Brian enjoys staying active on his bike, on the slopes, and in the pool.