IU Displays OpenFlow Leadership at Joint Techs Conference

When it comes to teaching the software-defined networking technology OpenFlow, Indiana University is a true pioneer.

IU’s Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE) hosted OpenFlow training workshops at Internet2’s semi-annual Joint Techs conference this July at Stanford University. The full-day, hands-on events were made possible by a National Science Foundation Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) grant awarded to IU in 2011.

Software-defined networking (SDN) has created substantial buzz in the networking world because it allows organizations to build more customized and dynamic networks. Many consider OpenFlow, a protocol for controlling the behavior of switches, crucial to SDN’s growth.

With record attendance of about 60 participants representing nearly 50 national labs, universities, and corporations, the workshops are clearly filling a void.

“There’s a huge interest in OpenFlow, and IU is the only organization teaching that technology right now,” said Matt Davy, IU chief network architect and InCNTRE executive director. “As a world leader in the advancement of SDN and OpenFlow, IU is well equipped to provide training and educational programs for other developers who want to get on board.”

The workshops featured a short introduction to the OpenFlow technology, with plenty of hands-on opportunities for participants to configure real OpenFlow switches and servers.

Joint Techs was the ideal place for IU to present its software development and research prowess as well. InCNTRE director Dr. Martin Swany presented his SDN research in a session titled, “Application-Driven Networking with XSP.” This research focuses on traffic engineering for bulk data flows in data center to data center wide-area networks. Luke Fowler of IU’s Global Research Network Operations Center demonstrated the latest OpenFlow-based software collaboration with Internet2, Open Exchange Software Suite (OE-SS), in the session “NDDI/OE-SS: OpenFlow in the WAN.”

Said Davy, “Joint Techs was a big success for IU. From the eager participation in our OpenFlow workshops to the interest in our presentations, IU is fast becoming one to watch in the burgeoning field of SDN.”