Everything you ever wanted to know about TeraFlowSDN and were afraid to ask.
The ETSI open source group TeraFlowSDN (OSG TFS) is developing a cloud native SDN controller enabling smart connectivity services for future networks beyond 5G. OSG TFS fosters innovation through open-source software for open technologies, architectures, and interfaces in optical and IP networking. TFS envisions a programable open and disaggregated network ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of SDN standards.
The short answer is YES, but let’s go through some of the reasons:
TeraFlowSDN is a cloud-native software based on a micro-services architecture, which allows better resource allocation and faster development cycles. It offers support for IP over optical transport networks: it provides OpenConfig support for IP layer and interfaces with the optical layer using ONF Transport API. This makes TFS unique, as currently there is no other opensource solution that addresses transport network orchestration.
TeraFlowSDN supports a large range of use cases defined by several ETSI standardization groups and aims for interoperability with ETSI Open Source MANO (OSM). It integrates with existing frameworks (NFV, MEC) and allows standardization groups and research initiatives to experiment with new features for flow aggregation, management (service layer), network equipment integration (infrastructure layer), AI/ML-based security, and forensic evidence for multi-tenancy.
The group liaises with relevant standards bodies and projects such as the IETF, ETSI ZSM, ETSI NFV, ETSI MEC, ETSI mWT, ETSI SAI. Also, ETSI TeraFlowSDN is strictly following Telecom Infra Project (TIP) MUST requirements and aligning with the proposed solutions. It is worth mentioning that ETSI TeraFlowSDN is an initiative resulting from European Community financed H2020 TeraFlow project, and therefor the group is committed to deliver compliance with European cyber-security requirements.
TeraFlowSDN is an effort led by major network operators, technology vendors and research institutions. The work is contribution driven, with a community in permanent growth. One of the reasons of moving to ETSI, was to benefit from its global reach. Participation to TeraFlowSDN is open to ETSI members, non-members, as well as individual developers and users.
The current list of TFS members and participant is available here.
Autonomous Networks Beyond 5G
The advent of 5G networks brings the opportunity to deploy new services in the network. Each service and/or network slice may require specific resources from the network. When moving towards scenarios B5G, the network will deliver any service that end users or applications request with certain guarantees by consuming network resources. This means that the network must be able to provide such adaptation capabilities, relating the requested services to the specific underlying network resources that are offered. These network resources need to be orchestrated in order to provide multi-layer multi-domain services. Fostering an Open Networking environment, TeraFlowSDN will follow a pragmatic approach to leverage operator-driven workflows (transport network slices that provide L2 and L3 services) to fix integration issues in commercial networks. This use case will demonstrate a highly distributed TeraFlowSDN deployment on top of heterogeneous geo-distributed SDN sites located in Spain and Athens. In addition, it will validate the multi-technology capabilities of the TeraFlowSDN based on standard interfaces, operational configurations with rollbacks, racing conditions, and NOS lifecycle management.
The automotive industry is evolving towards a vision where cars are becoming autonomous and connected wirelessly to cooperate for safer and more efficient driving. Today, most of the safety and efficiency features in vehicles are supported by on-board sensors, which are limited to visual line-of-sight. Connectivity offers a good complement to the on-board sensors by extending the vision and detection range even when visual line-of-sight is not available, while deploying Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) services. When looking at the deployment of CCAM services over a distributed edge and cloud infrastructure, several challenges need to be overcome. First, we need unified management of computing, storage, and networking resources. In this respect, the TeraFlowSDN Controller will be able to deploy integrated services (i.e., to provision cloud and edge computing resources, and connectivity between them) and optimize the cloud and network resources (i.e., packet/optical) in a concurrent way. Second, we need to address the multi-domain aspects of the problem, where resources need to be assigned in each domain and then combined in an end-to-end fashion. In this respect, the TeraFlowSDN Controller will deploy several per-domain instances and compose them to create end-to-end connectivity services. Finally, the different domains involved might belong to different network operators. This calls for methods to keep private the internal network details. In this respect, the TeraFlowSDN Controller will be equipped with a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) component, based on blockchain technologies, to preserve the confidentiality of the data exchanged between the per-domain TeraFlowSDN instances.
When an operator moves towards an automated environment, security becomes key as network operations are done by software components virtually operating without human intervention or oversight. Moreover, the pervasive softwarization of the network and infrastructure components is further increasing their attack surface. Indeed, security should undergo a similar technological evolution in order to enable the resilience of SDN controllers, the automation of security policies over the network, the use of ML to detect attacks, and the deployment of NFV security functions. This use case defines several scenarios of resilience and cybersecurity-related to a 5G compliant Telecom network infrastructure. Different types of attacks, as well as protection and mitigation techniques, will be covered to validate the TeraFlowSDN capabilities at an operator network digital twin Laboratory. This laboratory is a controlled environment located in Spain for running experiments that allow the deployment of complex network scenarios in a controlled way under realistic traffic and events.
ETSI TeraFlowSDN has been presented in multiple events and demonstrations and tutorials are available here. We are planning bi-yearly HackFest and community engagement activities, such as TeraFlowSDN Ecosystem Day, so we are looking forward to hearing from you.
We are planning two releases per year, which will incorporate all latest features and bug fixes. Release 2.1 was presented in July 2023. You can check all latest developments and integrations in our develop branch.
Contact us by email or join our Slack workspace