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OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: Madhusudhan Ananderi Kandadai

OpenDaylight is an active community of developers who are passionate about transforming networking. This blog series highlights the people who are collaborating to create the future of SDN and NFV.

I am pursuing my Masters in Telecommunication and Systems Management at Northeastern University, Boston and will graduate in December 2014. I am currently interning with Ericsson, San Jose and a member of the OpenDaylight integration team that designs and implements test cases, and manages work activities in collaboration with different vendors. I work closely with highly experienced and talented world-class engineers.

My areas of interest are Data Networking (Protocol stacks), IP Telephony (VoIP/IMS), Telecom Architecture, Cloud Computing and SDN. I am very much focused on understanding the user’s needs, and to provide solutions to solve problems, improve product quality and increase productivity in the workplace.

Any new developments to share from the integration team?
I mainly focus on OpenFlow 1.3 plugin testing, writing test cases for base Network Service Functions (NSF). This applies to OpenDaylight Base Edition distribution.

NSF includes the following components:

  • Topology Manager – Builds network topology
  • Switch Manager – Handles Southbound devices
  • Statistics Manager – Collects statistics information like flows, ports, table stats
  • Forwarding Rules Manager – Installs flows on Southbound devices
  • Host Tracker – Tracks the location of connected hosts
  • Forwarding Manager – Installs route and track the next hop
  • ARP Handler – Handles ARP messages according to the subnet network configuration

I think this testing is important, because it paves the way for good quality OpenDaylight deliverables. We do both manual and automation testing and the information can be found here. This link is best for someone who likes to understand test cases in detail.

Fast forward five years: Where do you see OpenDaylight?
OpenDaylight will play a significant role in enabling SDN, with the new features to be included in the next release, Helium. I could see that many companies are showing their interest to deploy OpenDaylight software in their networking environment and undoubtedly it has the backing of a huge proportion of the networking industry. Open source and collaborative development is the key to bringing together the best and brightest in their fields and thus adds a value to the industry’s pressing demands and challenges.

What is the biggest challenge facing networking today and how will SDN and NFV resolve it?
If I look back to 1990s, no one realized that Internet traffic would be evolving as much as it does today; it will certainly keep increasing. There was a need for service providers to cope with the current traffic and also to manage explosive growth of the Internet. In order to do that, SDN is the best way to program the networks, eliminating the need for manual configuration. In general, SDN describes the open architecture as a set of APIs, control protocols like OpenFlow, SNMP etc. that allow for dynamic, distributed provisioning and automation. Network operators can simply install SDN software and get the things done within a matter of minutes. This can be explained in a meaningful way. At present, network operators have to rely on a network technician to visit a customer site for fixing customer problems. This operational expenditure (OPEX) can be avoided by having SDN, which can fix them at remote sites.

​NFV plays a key role for decoupling network functions such as DPI, firewall, load balancers etc. from the proprietary hardware and runs in software. This allows service providers to dynamically scale network functions. NFV is aimed at IaaS, which is the base layer in cloud computing model and deals with computing infrastructure. With the use of NFV, network operators can virtualize the network functions resulting in capital expenditure (CAPEX) savings.

What advice would you give to someone just getting started in an open source project?
My two cents:

  • Visit this link for getting hands-on experience in working on OpenDaylight
  • Have a look at the documentation at wiki, it is explained in a very sensible manner which will really help you get started
  • Subscribe to the mailing lists to get the latest updates on OpenDaylight
  • Don’t forget to jump in IRC using #opendaylight channel, where you can seek immediate help. Someone from IRC will help you resolve any problem
  • Attending the conference calls to get a technical understanding of the project

How would you describe OpenDaylight to a developer interested in joining the community?

Download the Base Edition zip of OpenDaylight Hydrogen. Learning switch application is good enough to start with OpenDaylight, and it will give you some idea about application development. Once done, go through the Simple Forwarding Application present in OpenDaylight plugins. This application will allow you to create basic topology that you can see on the GUI. In general, you can get started with pretty basic Java skills and work your way out by copying the structure of that application. We also have a separate Wiki page dedicated to the developers.

How would you describe the OpenDaylight developer community? What are the community’s biggest strengths?

The OpenDaylight community has broad-minded developers from different industries. Collaboration by working with developers is the key to helping accelerate the development of technology available to the users and enable widespread adoption of SDN. The community’s biggest strength is to help someone understand the basics, encourage the new learners, clarify their issues, create project proposals and come up with suggestions to improve OpenDaylight. From my personal point of view, the support that I received from the community is amazing, and helps me network with peers and discuss with people from all over the world. With this support, I feel better equipped to focus on the latest trends, challenges and solutions to telecommunication.