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OpenDaylight VerizonInterview with: Todd Turney, Senior Manager, SDN Technology & Planning, Verizon

See also this one page overview.

How is Verizon using OpenDaylight in its networks?
OpenDaylight (ODL) is used as the directional open source SDN controller for our network. We leverage ODL today for two main SDN controller project use cases: (1) As a NETCONF based provisioning controller for network elements within our directional Intelligent Edge Network (iEN) and (2) As an OpenFlow controller for programming and managing end-to-end packet flows across a native OpenFlow production network called OpenEdge. These use cases support critical infrastructure for Verizon. There are around eleven ODL modules/projects affecting us where we have active participation in the community and are working to assume a leadership role in several of these modules/projects.

Why did Verizon start using OpenDaylight originally?
In the past, we received a hardened ODL distribution that was “open source in nature” but still required external regression testing, solution packaging, and support. After initial work with ODL, we decided to pull the ODL testing/packaging/support in-house and create our own Verizon optimized ODL distribution. By bringing the ODL work in-house, our optimized ODL distribution became a lot leaner over time. We believe that vendor and service provider collaboration is key.

We’re now trying to work with vendors to create use cases together to expedite this activity. We find that there is minimal ODL expertise in the industry, so we see it as our responsibility to contribute to the open source community.

What were some of the challenges of getting started?

We were having a difficult time finding the right resources and expertise in ODL, with vendor lock-in and lack of flexibility in ODL packaging options being provided by the vendors. One size definitely does not fit all. We now have multiple folks in our organization directly participating in ODL. A major challenge we’re addressing now is how to horizontally scale ODL based on our requirements. We will be actively participating in both the ODL Micro and ODL Helm Charts areas as well as working to build some reference implementations.

How are you overcoming these challenges?
We are bringing strong developers to the team. ODL is Verizon’s foundational and directional SDN controller for the network. This being open source, we want to encourage continued contributions from the community.

Our use of ODL is working out well in terms of usage and features improvements. Currently, we are using Yang model driven platform solutions and want to integrate different types of data modeling technology, Open APIs, rest platforms, etc. This will allow us to integrate with more services. We need more ODL participants and need real, deployment-based use cases.

What overall value does OpenDaylight provide Verizon?
ODL provides the framework for us to support a vendor agnostic and abstracted view of our network to our upstream OSS/BSS systems. This view greatly simplifies the interaction of our OSS/BSS systems with the network and allows the flexibility for changes to be introduced within the network while minimizing impacts to these upstream systems.

As an open source solution, ODL gives us the flexibility to pick and choose what is needed in an SDN controller based on our use case needs which avoids making the controller too big and inflexible. With the ability to easily build applications on top of ODL, we have already begun the process of removing vendor EMS (Element Management System) solutions from the network which traditionally have been expensive and inflexible.

We are also able to take advantage of contributions and innovations available within the ODL community without consulting professional services, paying license fees or committing to annual maintenance support contracts which helps to drive down both CapEX and OpEX. It also gives us a better ability to innovate at our own pace.