The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has released the first version of Atrium, a collection of open software-defined networking (SDN) software elements. Atrium’s objective is to ease the adoption of open SDN concepts. It combines existing open source SDN software to create the Atrium solution.

The first release, Atrium 2015/A, incorporates the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), the Open Network Operating System (ONOS), and Open Compute Project (OCP) components. The software elements run on either controllers or switches, communicate via the OpenFlow protocol, and include plugin opportunities for other switching solutions to help foster an open ecosystem of interoperable, hardware-based OpenFlow switches. Routing is often the most basic application operators want for SDN, and Atrium 2015/A includes Quagga BGP because it is a popular open source routing stack. Atrium 2015/A is built on ONOS because Quagga runs on ONOS.

For SDN to achieve the breakthrough in widespread deployment, it needs adoption by a wide range of equipment vendors. Will Atrium provide that impetus? The list of organization contributing to this open source project is quite extensive, including, Allied Telesis, Bristol is Open, British Telecom, BTI Systems, the Chinese Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), Ceragon Networks, CPqD, Criterion Networks, Deutsche Telekom, ECI Telecom, Facebook, Gigamon, Huawei, Infoblox, Ixia, Mellanox, Lenovo, Luxoft, NEC, NTT Group,, Riava, Sify Technologies, SM Optics, Spirent, Tencent, University of Bristol, University of Campinas, University of Lancaster, Wipro, and Zeetta Networks.

On the other hand, many of the large telecom players have chosen to implement their own SDN solution, rather than go the Atrium route. This includes Cisco Systems, Ciena Corp, Juniper Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia and Fujitsu. Can Atrium succeed with such a prominent list absent? Can SDN succeed without an open source solution such as Atrium?

For more details on Atrium, see the ONF announcement at