InCNTRE makes history

The Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE) made history this year when it conducted the first OpenFLow conformance test, successfully testing NEC Programmable Flow Switches PF5240 and PF5248 at the Software Defined Networking (SDN) Interoperability Lab.

"InCNTRE is excited to be involved in this critical step in the evolution of OpenFlow,” said Ron Milford, InCNTRE associate director of testing and interoperability services and vice chair of the ONF Testing and Interoperability Working Group.

The Open Networking Foundation’s Certificate of Conformance is its highest level of quality assurance, and indicates a vendor’s hardware and software switches work with a particular version of OpenFlow. NEC is the first certified vendor and will display the OpenFlow conformance logo on the two switches.

InCNTRE programmer/analyst Jonathan Stout engineered the historic NEC conformance test, which took approximately one week to complete. Though networking was not his primary interest in computer science, Stout said OpenFlow has changed all that.  

“Once I got exposed to OpenFlow, it clicked because it wasn’t traditional networking; you actually had power to do something to the network.  A lot of programmers don’t realize the network is becoming a new toy to play with.  OpenFlow got me.”

Before completing the groundbreaking conformance test, InCNTRE did significant development of an Open Source testing framework called OFTest to make it usable for testing with OpenFlow version 1.0. 

OFTest has been released under the OpenFlow Switching License and is currently being used as a reference testing tool by other ONF test labs, commercial test tool developers, and vendors seeking certification. Milford said they intend to contribute the 1.0 conformance test portion of OFTest back into the main OFTest development repository.