Nokia Networks creates OpenFastPath Foundation to enhance SDN development

Software defined networking could get a boost as Nokia Networks, ARM and Enea have formed the OpenFastPath (OFP) Foundation to speed the progress of SDN. The OFP Foundation is a non-profit, open-source software initiative dedicated to lowering technology barriers and fostering innovation in this area.

Yesterday, Business Cloud News reported how only 5% of Cisco networks are automated because they face too many challenges in software defining their networks. In response vendors are attempting to simplify the process.

The OFP initiative will blend the technologies and security features of the telecoms world with the open source approach of the IT domain, Nokia claims. It says that a growing community of engineers can now speed the development of high throughput, low latency user space network applications that can use IP packet processing.

The initiative is an attempt to meet the new conditions of the emerging telco cloud which calls for substantial development of the IP transport network, since SDN systems increasingly utilise feature sets found within the transport layer. It aims to create a vibrant open-source community around a standardised, faster transport control protocol and IP (TCP/IP) stack that provides top performance for SDN-ready network functions. If the OpenFastPath does encourage developers to create the right foundations, operator networks could cut IP latency, raise their capacity and achieve faster packet forwarding. Ultimately this would raise performance while lowering costs.

The TCP/IP stack is based on the open-source Free Berkeley Software Distribution (FreeBSD) operating system, and includes User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). New functions will be added in the future. It is optimised for OpenDataPlane (ODP) programming interfaces, with hardware acceleration through ODP. It will be available for all major processor architectures, including ARM, x86, MIPS and PowerPC.

In addition to the three founding members, the initiative is supported by a cast of industry luminaries including AMD, Cavium, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard and Linaro.

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