In the past several years, we have been closely engaged with EANTC by participating in their Multi-Vendor Interoperability Test events that take place yearly and involve multiple network equipment vendors. Our particular focus has been the NETCONF and YANG interoperability portion of these events.
The topic of the event is “SDN Service Orchestration Multi-Vendor Interoperability Test” and is focused purely on management interoperability between orchestrators/controllers and switches/routers, using NETCONF and YANG standards. We expect to see increased participation from different vendors and can’t wait for the interoperability results to be posted at the end of the event. As you may guess this year’s event will be done remotely adding another layer of testing and engagement to the event.
Although NETCONF and YANG are IETF standard technologies, we have noticed through our NETCONF and YANG Automation Testing program, that some device implementations can be very unfriendly to interoperability with third-party orchestrators/controllers. Interoperability is about more than just standards compliance. It is also about implementing automation best practices. Here are just a few of the issues we have seen:
- NETCONF transactional behavior is broken for <edit-config> RPCs. Some server implementations can’t handle all configuration at once and require the client to order certain configuration changes because the NETCONF server needs to apply the configuration in specific sequences and can’t do it itself. This leads to extra complexity and defeats the purpose of supporting transactions.
- Data type mismatch between NETCONF RPC replies and YANG data model definitions.
- Configuration side effects. This happens when a NETCONF server decides to commit more configuration than what was received. This logic can cause orchestrator/controller failures and renders the configuration change operation more complex.
Other potential issues deal with non-standard YANG data model modules. Do they conform with the RFC? Are best practices being respected when modeling the data? Are non-standard YANG data model modules necessary? Isn’t it better to augment a standard module instead of introducing a non-standard module? All of these questions are basic design questions that need to be addressed when modeling data in YANG.
Network Equipment Providers are encouraged to participate in the upcoming fall EANTC interoperability testing event, in order to:
- Improve multi-vendor network management interoperability using NETCONF/YANG
- Evaluate new NETCONF/YANG implementations in a collaborative and neutral environment
- Test non-standard YANG data models and how third-party controllers and orchestrators consume these models
This is a unique opportunity to test and troubleshoot interoperability with third-party vendors in a neutral and amicable pre-production environment. Be aware that the registration deadline is September 30th, 2020, and staging and pre-integration will happen between November 2nd and November 13th. Testing is planned for November 16-20, 2020 and the publication of the results is planned for November 30th.
For more information on how to participate, please contact EANTC (www.eantc.de) directly:
- Managing Director: Carsten Rossenhövel – firstname.lastname@example.org – +49.30.3180595-21
- Technical Project Management: Xiao Tai Yu – email@example.com – +49.30.3180595-37
- Marketing: Laura Sergi – firstname.lastname@example.org – +49.30.3180595-33
The interoperability reports generated by EANTC are widely read and respected by Service Providers globally. The specific use cases and design blueprints described in these reports play a central role in network innovation projects to fulfill interoperability RFP requirements. Participation in this event accelerates multi-vendor interoperability and NETCONF/YANG implementation compliance and helps improve quality. To better understand the value of these events, please find below the past EANTC interoperability event reports for review:
- 2020: http://www.eantc.de/fileadmin/eantc/downloads/events/MPLS2020/EANTC-MPLSSDNNFV2020-WhitePaper.pdf
- 2019: http://www.eantc.de/fileadmin/eantc/downloads/events/2017-2020/MPLS2019/EANTC-MPLSSDNNFV2019-WhitePaper-v1.3.pdf
- 2018 http://www.eantc.de/fileadmin/eantc/downloads/events/2017-2020/MPLS2018/EANTC-MPLSSDNNFV2018-WhitePaper-final.pdf
Additionally, we have written a few blog posts about the EANTC and the previous interop events: https://www.tail-f.com/eantc-interoperability-test-2020/ and https://www.tail-f.com/turbulent-times-but-netconf-yang-healthier-than-ever/.
Some useful links:
- NETCONF/YANG Demo – EANTC Multi-Vendor Interoperability Test Event 2020