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On May 25, 2018, Lumina Networks announced that it had received $10m in Series A financing to expand its global footprint and to drive adoption of its OpenDaylight solutions, particularly its open source software-defined network (SDN) controller. The fact that AT&T and Verizon are primary investors in Lumina signals the value each operator is placing in open source SDN for network virtualization.

Open source SDN to accelerate telco network automation

Backed by AT&T and Verizon, Lumina Networks received $10m in funding to expand its business into Europe and Japan, and to fund development of its OpenDaylight portfolio, particularly its SDN controller. AT&T and Verizon's financial backing in Lumina demonstrates the weight and importance each operator is putting behind open source SDN controllers. Open source controllers tie in better with white boxes, enabling the move toward taking proprietary hardware with bundled software, decoupling the hardware from the software, and using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers with separate (operator-chosen) software to lower costs and reduce vendor lock-in.

Another interesting move from Lumina in the field of open source SDN was the November 2017 launch of its Lumina Fabric Manager, which is a plug-in for open source container platform Kubernetes. When paired with Lumina's SDN controller, this plug-in enables automation and orchestration of physical Ethernet switches, effectively bringing containerization further down into the networking stack, and allowing operators to automate network provisioning from container-based workloads in the cloud into the existing physical networking environment.

Lumina is proving that it can help operators solve the challenge of integrating new software-based technologies into legacy networks, without the fear of service disruption and negative quality of service (QoS) perception. With the backing of two leaders in SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV), we expect other operators to follow suit and send out an increasing number of RFPs for open source, container-based SDN solutions that improve network resource automation and orchestration.


Further reading

"First cloud, now automation: Is SDN/NFV becoming an afterthought?" SPT002-000092 (June 2018)

NFV, MANO, and Next-Generation OSS, SPT002-000075(April 2018)

Market Opportunity Analysis: NFV/SDN, SPT002-000027(January 2018)

"Pace of NFV/SDN adoption does not meet initial vision," SPT002-000034 (December 2017)


Stephanie Gibbons, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networks

[email protected]