Kevin WadeKevin Wade is director of product marketing within Ciena’s Blue Planet division

Like most people, there are certain songs that just seem to get stuck in my head. Sometimes it could be a classic like “Yesterday” from the Beatles, other times it could be a song from when I was young like the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” or lately it seems to be one of the newer pop songs like “Blank Space”  from Taylor Swift (I have two tween daughters). Having thought about  it, I realized all of these songs have three things in common:  thought-provoking lyrics, a perspective that’s relatable, and a catchy  tune. It seems that this combination of things just works well together,  at least for me, and makes that particular song resonate (another  musical term).

Switching gears a little—or maybe a lot—I’ve been working on a newer  networking use case that’s generating significant interest across the  industry: CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter). It  occurred to me that CORD is gaining momentum with network operators for  the same reasons certain songs get stuck in people’s heads. I’ll explain  more reasons below, but first it makes sense to define CORD.

What is CORD?

CORD is one of the first use cases for the Open Network Operating  System (ONOS), an open-source SDN controller for service providers and  other mission-critical networks. ONOS was developed by ON.Lab in  collaboration with a global community of partners that includes tier-1  network operators and industry-leading vendors (Ciena’s Blue Planet  division, among others). The ONOS CORD use case was first unveiled at the 2015 ONS Summit by AT&T, ON.Lab, and others.

The objective  of CORD is to replace the proprietary infrastructure of the traditional  central office with open software and commoditized hardware building  blocks—think SDN, NFV, and Cloud software running on commodity servers  and white-box switches—to deliver datacenter economies of scale and  cloud-like agility to service provider networks.

Flash forward to the 2016 ONS Summit happening this week in Santa Clara, CA and you can see that CORD has  become one of the networking industry’s most-discussed SDN and NFV use  cases. I counted more than 30 different sessions and talks on the  conference program relating to CORD and/or ONOS. CORD is truly  resonating with network operators, and as I mentioned before, I think  it’s for the same reasons certain songs tend to get stuck in a person’s  head:

It’s Thought-Provoking: Technologies could be  considered the “lyrics” of a networking use case, and CORD involves a  compelling combination of the most advanced technologies available  today, including SDN, NFV, and Cloud open-source software, white box  switches, and datacenter servers.

It’s Relatable: The central office, having remained  largely unchanged for the last thirty years, is certainly something  that’s well understood by all network operators, as are the services  that CORD is addressing: Residential (R-CORD), Enterprise (E-CORD), and  Mobile (M-CORD).

It’s Catchy: While there’s no tune associated with  CORD, the concept certainly has an undeniable appeal. Applying  state-of-the-art technologies to make the central office network  infrastructure more responsive and cost-effective tackles a fundamental,  real-world challenge that network operators need to solve.

Ciena Blue Planet ONOS and CORD

Ciena’s Blue Planet division is right in the middle of this momentum with our recently announced Blue Planet ONOS solution (BP ONOS). BP ONOS is a commercially hardened  distribution of ONOS backed by Ciena’s world-class software  development, service, and support. Here at ONS 2016, we’re showing the  first-ever live demo of BP ONOS for CORD in our booth (#512). As  expected, it’s receiving a lot of attention and interest from network  operators.

It’s also worth noting that Blue Planet’s multi-domain orchestration  capabilities (yet another musical term) can also play an important role  within CORD. As an open, vendor-agnostic platform that streamlines the  integration of different SDN, NFV, and cloud components, Blue Planet is  uniquely positioned to help network operators who are investigating CORD  automate services from end-to-end and who “make beautiful music  together.”

Blue Planet ONOS diagram

If you’re here at ONS, I invite you to drop by for a live demo, or check out our Blue Planet ONOS product page for more info.