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OpenFlow® 1.2 Marks Big Step Forward for Software Defined Networking

ONF approves its first major update, adding IPv6 support and increasing experimenter and protocol flexibility to facilitate cloud development

PALO ALTO, Calif — Dec. 15, 2011 — The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced today the Board's approval of OpenFlow® Switch Specification Version 1.2 – the first update of the OpenFlow® Software Defined Networking (SDN) standard since the ONF's launch in March, 2011.

The new release builds significantly on Stanford University's Version 1.1 in a number of ways, including support for IPv6, extensible matches, and greater flexibility for ongoing experimentation. Also announced today was the appointment of NTT Communications to the ONF Board of Directors, and the ONF's membership passing the 50 mark after just eight months.

"ONF continues to grow globally, with Korea Telecom and Spirent Communications our latest members" says Dan Pitt, ONF's Executive Director. "There is a shared vision of OpenFlow® as the vital foundation upon which a dynamic, policy-based orchestration layer is being created – allowing processes to be defined on the fly and deployed automatically to deliver agile, scalable cloud services to a satisfy a wide range of user needs in every geography."

The OpenFlow® Switch Specification 1.2 includes three significant improvements:

  • Support for IPv6. In addition to the previous support for IPv4, MPLS, and L2 headers, OpenFlow® 1.2 now supports matching on IPv6 source address, destination address, protocol number, traffic class, ICMPv6 type, ICMPv6 code, IPv6 neighbor discovery header fields, and IPv6 flow labels.
  • Support for extensible matches, addressing a larger number of parameters and providing far greater flexibility for current and future protocols.
  • Support for experimenter extensions through dedicated fields and code points assigned by ONF, facilitating experimentation and fine-tuning by a growing population of developers across academia and industry.

Software Defined Networking using the OpenFlow® standard addresses the challenges faced by service providers, data-center operators, and enterprises in aligning the network with an increasingly dynamic and customized computing infrastructure. OpenFlow® defines a communication protocol between a logically centralized control plane and the network's data delivery plane, together with a standardized network management interface potentially allowing, for example, a data-center network to be made as flexible and responsive as the virtual servers that it supports.

The new Director representing NTT Communications is Yukio Ito, Senior Vice President, Services and Infrastructure, NTT Communications Corporation. His deputy is Dr. Kenji Takahashi, President and CEO, NTT Multimedia Communications Laboratories, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of NTT Communications. Mr. Ito commented: "NTT strongly supports the ONF's goals and has deeply engaged technical experts actively contributing to ONF working groups, underlining NTT's strong commitment to developing and deploying the OpenFlow® standard."

With other working and discussion groups actively engaged on a number of related enhancements, further significant updates to the OpenFlow® specification are anticipated throughout 2012.

About ONF

Founded in 2011 by Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo!, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a nonprofit organization with over 50 members whose goal is to rethink networking and quickly and collaboratively bring to market standards and solutions. ONF will accelerate the delivery and use of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) standards and foster a vibrant market of products, services, applications, customers, and users. For further details visit their website at: https://opennetworking.org