When to use ConfD framework based on your development cycle

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) demand more from network equipment providers (NEPs) today because end users demand more. Large established NEPs and startups are both vying for the CSPs business and each faces unique hurdles to overcome in order to be competitive. Adjusting roadmaps for growing demands for Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) also plays a growing role.

One thing the large NEPs and startup NEPs have in common is that both will benefit from a standardized management framework for their next network device. We get questions daily about when to use ConfD: Is it useful for established NEPs? Is it useful for startup NEPs? The short answer is yes, ConfD can benefit both.

From my perspective, there are two very clear use cases:

  1. When developing a new product line
  2. When updating your existing product

Let’s dive into these two use cases and why ConfD is a fit for both large established NEPs and startups in the space.

New product line

The benefits of an off-the-shelf management plane solution can seem fairly straight forward when developing a new product line, particularly for startups that don’t have an existing management plane to carry forward. ConfD eases the burden on startups and helps them simplify the product development process.

ConfD provides NEPs developing new product lines with a few key advantages:

  • YANG functionality from the ground up, instead of rewriting code
  • Apply the same code to every northbound interface
  • Avoid need to support legacy systems and bloated applications
  • Simplify development with optional bundles that work seamlessly with other networking solutions
  • Futureproof code

Ultimately, this means the development team can focus on features and functionality that will differentiate their new product, and get their equipment to market faster.

Product update

The usefulness of third-party management plane may not appear as cut and dry from the vantage point of a large NEP. However, in order to remain competitive, established NEPs need to frequently update their equipment to keep it from becoming obsolete.

Eventually, they’ll reach a point when siloed development processes cannot be maintained—changes will be so frequent that it is no longer feasible for engineers to go back and revise the code for each interface every time a product expands functionality.

Their focus needs to be on supporting features first, not the management plane. ConfD provides the following advantages for NEPs developing the next generation of their equipment:

  • Full NETCONF support through the use of YANG
  • Code can be modeled once and repeated across systems
  • Maintain current software with minimal disruption
  • Seamless integration between planes reduces development lifecycle

We recently published two in-depth use cases for Tail-f’s ConfD framework. Below you can download the use case that is most appropriate for you.


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