Learn about the ONOS Deployments Brigade from Luca Prete, MTS ON.Lab:
Q: Luca, please tell us a bit about yourself and role within ONOS.
A: As an SDN enthusiast, I joined ON.Lab in 2014 before the open sourcing of ONOS. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in Milan and a Masters in Internet technologies from the University of Pisa. I’ve been involved in computer science consulting since 2005, with a particular focus on systems and networks. Since 2012, I’ve collaborated with the Italian NREN in the R&D department, researching SDN and cloud computing systems deployments. At ON.Lab, I currently lead deployment activities.
Q: Briefly summarize the Deployments Brigade’s team, scope, goals, and any notable progress to-date.
A: The goal of the Deployments Brigade is to make ONOS-based SDN deployments easy and production-ready. During our current ONOS/SDN deployments in R&E Networks around the world, we learned a basic set of features the network operators ask for, and as a brigade we want to make it available and easy to deploy.
More specifically, we’re developing a software stack on ONOS that will allow Operators to provision on-demand Layer2 VPNs and exchange L3 routes, both over a convergent packet-optical network. We’re trying to make the stack support the most recent standards and protocols used by Service Providers and Research and Educational Networks today, such as the MEF standards – for the creation of L2 VPNs (E-LINE and E-LAN), and the NSI protocol for the provisioning of resources among multiple administrative domains.
I knew network operators really wanted such a stack and features, but when we saw the number of people from the Partners and the Community asking to participate, I was really impressed and happy. The brigade currently comprises 18 active developers from Service Providers, Vendors, RENs and Academia, while the mailing list has a broader audience including Managers and Executives.
As many know, each brigade should meet for the first time within the September-October timeframe to have the opportunity to share requirements, ideas, work together, and – why not – have some fun. Having people with different backgrounds and expectations might be challenging. The initial goal was to discuss requirements, define tasks, go through the initial design phases together, and possibly start to code. Exceeding my expectations, in one week, we defined requirements and tasks, we talked about the solution design, and we coded a full working solution in answer to our first use-cases: being able to manage VLAN tags in SDN-IP and run together applications to provide on-demand Layer2 and Layer3 services (VPLS and SDN-IP). Additional code under review will enable more new features; soon VPLS will be able to associate in the same network interfaces using different VLAN IDs, as well as different tag types, such as MPLS tags, VLAN IDs, and so on. The Intent Framework will natively support bandwidth provisioning and enforcement, and the VPLS app will be able to use it, opening a completely new set of use-cases.
Q: Has the Deployments Brigade team developed any best practices, or do you have any advice to share with the other Brigades to optimize collaboration leading into the ONOS Developer Summit?
A: The work week and the preparation leading up to it was very educational.
Arriving prepared to the working week is fundamental: goals should be clear, a basic backlog should be in place and the staff of ON.Lab should be prepared to dedicate time to the team, to answer questions and work with them.
People will have different backgrounds and will already have different opinions, ideas, requirements. If things above are not well prepared, you’ll probably just add confusion to the group.
It’s fundamental to put the right balance between presentations, interactive design discussions and practical work – meaning coding. The week together is not a conference, it’s not intended for executives. It’s for developers. You don’t want to see people of your group become passive listeners, get bored with lots of presentations. It’s also important that everyone has the chance to fully express her/his ideas. This can be achieved through interactive discussions.
It is important for people to walk away from the working week at ON.Lab with some concrete work in progress. While I may have difficulties starting a coding task from scratch once back to my daily job, If I were to start a task at ON.Lab with a concrete idea of how things might be done and help from core developers, I would feel excited and fully involved looking forward to bringing the task to completion.
Lastly, the social aspect shouldn’t be forgotten. This has been at least as important as coding for the success of the project. I’ve personally noticed a huge difference between the first day of meeting and the next days. After team bonding, people were better able to comfortably interact. This was true both for external contributors and for internal people at ON.Lab.
Q: How can people get involved with the Deployments Brigade?/Any call-to-action?
A: There are many ways people can get involved. As a geographically distributed group, we use online tools, and we want to make sure they all remain up to date as much as possible.
Basic information about our brigade can be found on the ONOS Wiki at https://wiki.onosproject.org/display/ONOS/Deployment+brigade. This contains anyway the main other pointers I’m giving here, and tells you how to get involved.
Our backlog, a list of current tasks and their current progress can be found on our Agile tool platform, at https://jira.onosproject.org/secure/RapidBoard.jspa?rapidView=1&view=planning.nodetail
We also have a public mailing-list we use to talk one each other, which is public. The address is email@example.com. If you’re interested in looking at the old conversations, the archive is available at https://groups.google.com/a/onosproject.org/forum/?hl=en#!forum/brigade-deployments
I’ll close with expressing how happy and satisfied I feel when I see how much has been done by the deployments brigade, and how much is also going on. I guess this is the demonstration of the potential of such initiative, that – hopefully – will continue to produce better and better results.