The idea of using software alone to create a router is one that multiple vendors and projects are engaged in, among them the open-source CloudRouter project, which hit its 2.0 beta milestone this week.
Jay Turner, CloudRouter Project Lead and Senior Director of DevOps at IIX, told Enterprise Networking Planet that CloudRouter 2 is based on the Fedora 22 Linux distribution. Fedora is a community distribution of Linux that is backed by Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat. Fedora 22 was first released in May of this year.
Turner noted that the CloudRouter project changes out a few components from a regular Fedora 22 build, including BIRD and Quagga, so CloudRouter is deemed a Fedora Remix.
CloudRouter 2 also includes both the ONOS and the OpenDaylight Lithium SDN controllers. As to why both SDN controllers are included, Turner said: freedom.
"One of the goals of the CloudRouter Project is to aggregate the fast-moving development in the open source communication, especially with respect to networking, and thus making it easily consumable for users," Turner said. "For that reason, the CloudRouter community wanted to package both of the leading SDN projects."
Similarly Turner added that CloudRouter includes three different BGP routing daemons with BIRD, Quagga and ExaBGP. Security is also part of the model for CloudRouter
While CloudRouter is essentially a software defined router, it is not directly targeting the same space as other vendors such as Cumulus, in Turner's view. Turner commented that the project aims to be an open source, collaborative platform to serve as a foundation for network development.
"While it is true a user could leverage CloudRouter to act much like a network operating system, another user could use the project as a platform for SDN development, while another user could leverage the project to serve as a high-performance, cloud-based router," Turner said.
Currently CloudRouter is a community-led open-source effort without any commercial aspirations. According to Turner, that's also likely to remain the case as there are no plans for a commercially supported CloudRouter offering.
"Taking a step back, it is important to know the impetus for the project was to develop a solution which could be used by IIX's own network operations team," Turner said. "They provided the initial requirements for the project, and are utilizing a trimmed-down version of the project in production today."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.