data centerIt’s time to add another acronym to the telecom lexicon: CORD, for “central office re-architected as data center.”

The idea behind CORD is to use software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to “transform . . . carrier functions into workloads that are hosted on common, commodity infrastructure,” explains an industry group that has collaborated on a CORD demo that will be demonstrated at next week’s Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, Calif.

Entities involved in the demo include AT&T, which has been championing a software-based approach to networking; ONOS Project; PMC-Sierra and Sckipio. ONOS is an open source SDN networking operating system which, according to today’s announcement, is “architected for high-performance, scale and availability.”

Central Office Transformation
The upcoming demo will use CORD concepts to support GPON, G.fast and customer premises equipment. Ultimately CORD could enable 300 unique appliances to be replaced with software running on commodity hardware, today’s press release notes.

PMC/Sierra’s role in the demo was to virtualize the traditional optical line terminal by developing OpenFlow-enabled  media access control (MAC).  Sckipio played a similar role for G.fast technology, creating a G.fast CPE bridge that will connect to an OpenFlow-enabled G.fast distribution point unit.

Key capabilities that will be demonstrated next week target service providers, subscribers and third parties:

Service provider-focused capabilities include

  • SDN control orchestration and management with ONOS and other software controlling commodity servers and white box switches
  • OpenFlow control of GPON and G.fast technology
  • Access-as-a-service, subscriber-as-a-service, Internet-as-a-service, caching/content delivery-as-a-service, and virtualized functions such as firewall, URL filtering, and parental control

Subscriber-focused capabilities include:

  • Simple CPE that can be managed by ONOS
  • Subscriber services such as Internet, firewall and parental control
  • A subscriber portal to sign up for and control services

Third-party provider-focused capabilities include:

  • Content delivery and content caching in the service provider network
  • Third-party provider portal for signing up for and controlling services

Organizers of the CORD demo plan to “enhance the solution with new features and harden it, bring in new players and advance CORD from lab trials all the way to deployment,” said Guru Parulkar, executive director of the ON.Lab and the Open Networking Research Center. The ON.Lab is a non-profit organization with the mission of fostering an open source community for developing SDN tools and platforms.