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The CloudRouter initiative launches its second beta release

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July 16, 2015

The open-source 'CloudRouter' initiative is getting closer to its industry availability, with its second beta release today.

To begin with, the CloudRouter project first emerged in March of this year under the backing of peering company IIX.

We asked the project's leader Jay Turner why, in a world where internet routers have well over twenty years' of development, the world needed another?

His answers: “First, we don't have a truly open-source, collaborative virtual router project per se today,” he said. Also, IIX decided early on that while the project needed the flexibility to go beyond routing, that basic functionality was needed to scratch the company's own itch.

“Our network operators wanted a software solution for their daily operations,” Turner said. “IIX has about 150 POPs (points of presence) around the globe. Overall, manual router operations is fairly tedious and prone to error.”

“That was the seed that started this in the first place-- a dead simple router. You don't get that from the traditional vendors any more. You're getting fifty other features that you have no interest in, and you have to deal with the technical debt of those features being there even if you don't need them.”

IIX wants the CloudRouter to be “useful and utilised”, Turner added. In the Fedora Remix-based (Fedora 22-based but not supported by Red Hat), CloudRouter version 2.0 (beta release) we have ONOS 1.2, OpenDaylight Lithium, CoreOS Rkt container support, the Mininet SDN prototyping software, and the FastNetMon DoS/DDoS toolkit.

There are three BGP daemons-– BIRD and Quagga, and the lightweight ExaBGP daemon that CloudRouter says was added at the request of a corporate user.

Features that carried through from the first beta include automatic configuration; Docker, KVM and Cloudius OSv support; and IPSec, SSL and L2TP support.

The original plan was to move from beta to general availability in less than two weeks from today, but Turner says that deadline probably won't be met. Mid-August now looks more probable.

“I want the internet community to put it through its paces, try it out completely, and make sure we have something we can really stand behind,” he added.

But he was quick to point out: “We're going to keep our fingers on the pulse. There has to be a limit, or it'll never get out of beta.”

Turner added he would get antsy if it took more than four weeks. That attitude is also reflected in Turner's hope that CloudRouter will avoid the issue suffered by other virtual networking projects, that they acquire too many contributions that become orphan code with lots of open trouble tickets.

“We dealt with that for several years at RedHat,” he said. “You have to be vigilant in policing the code, and you have to really hold people accountable. It's the only way you will really get anything off the ground.”

“That's what OpenDayLight has done with Lithium-– they called out the roles and responsibilities of the various leads. I think that will be successful,” he added.

Source: The CloudRouter Project.

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