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The OpenFlow concept was recently proposed primarily to facilitate policy routing in large enterprise/service provider networks. Carrier Ethernet technologies such as MPLS-TP and PBB-TE are currently considered to be the forerunners in such transport networks. Both these technologies specify the need for a managed control plane. Carrier Ethernet Switch Routers (CESRs) are being proposed for transport functionality in service provider networks. The future of the transport network is to provide for cloud-like services whereby policy routing would be a key enabler technology. The OpenFlow specification is quite in accordance with the implementation of a centralized, unified control plane that is mandatory for Carrier Ethernet. In this paper, we demonstrate the OpenFlow paradigm implementation over CESRs to support next generation cloud applications and services. We showcase architecture, modifications and protocol performance with specific focus on OpenFlow in operator networks. The main novelty of this work is in transforming the OpenFlow controller to co-exist with the network management system of a CESR thus facilitating the CESR to control and interface with the OpenFlow protocol. We adapt the OpenFlow paradigm to an implemented CESR. Hardware results for service performance, network utilization, latency behavior across the network and protection switching are shown. We conclude for the first time, the feasibility of adapting the OpenFlow standard to service provider equipment.
Date of Conference: 20-22 June 2012