sign.jpgThe first ever LSO hackathon was held November 17-19 in conjunction with the GEN15 conference, hosted by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), in Dallas, TX. GEN15 is the MEF’s marquis event for the year, drawing networking professions together to enable the future of agile and orchestrated carrier grade services powered by LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration), SDN, and NFV.  With the support of Cisco DevNet, the MEF added a critical element this year, a hackathon aimed at accelerating the development of LSO architecture, its corresponding APIs, and adding support for those APIs into key open source projects that provide the foundation of the architecture.

 

The hackathon drew a diverse group of developers and subject matter experts from various open source communities and SDOs. Over 50 participants from more than 20 different companies gathered to collaborate on the combination of open source and open standards. Participating companies included AT&T, Amartus, Cable Television Labs, CenturyLink, Ciena Corporation, Cisco Systems, Comcast, ECI Telecom, Ericsson AB, Fujitsu Network Communications, Iometrix, Level 3 Communications, MEF, Microsemi, Oracle, PLDT Corp. Business Solutions, TM Forum, Tech 2000, Telecom Italia S.p.a.,, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon Business. In addition to many long time MEF contributors, we had active contributors from OpenDaylight, OPNFV, OpenStack, and IETF.

 

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The event started with a workshop Monday afternoon to introduce participants to the LSO architecture and the aspects of it that served as the focus of the hackathon. That was followed by a series of brief technical presentations by experts of on each of the proposed projects. Participants were also introduced to the LSO hackathon network, consisting of a set of VMs to host applications and connected to CE 2.0 network gear to facilitate running real traffic through the setup.

 

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Now sufficiently acquainted with the technologies and proposed projects, participants broke up in the teams that best matched their skillset and interests. The room was a bit crammed but this had its benefits as participants quickly found homes in one or more projects. Most teams included people from multiple companies and a combination of open source developers and authors of related standards and APIs. To capitalize on the networking and relationship building opportunity, all hackathon participants were then invited and encouraged to step away from the laptops, servers, and routers and join the rest of the GEN 15 conference attendees in the Networking Hall for the Welcome Reception.

 

The hackathon officially restarted at 9am the next morning. Many eager hackers were there well before that to dive into their new endeavors with their new friends. By design, the atmosphere was more collaborative and cooperative than competitive. Teamwork and the opportunity to move the industry forward were motivation enough, not to mention a constant flow of great food and caffeine in all the favorite forms.

 

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Cisco DevNet addressed clothing needs with commemorative t-shirts. Equally critical were developer VMs on USB drives that enabled participants to quickly instantiate a development environment tailored to their project quickly on their own laptop.

 

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Teams worked well into the evening. Around 7pm, many accepted to the call of a cocktail reception, proceeding to hash out the more delicate debates within their teams over a beer or two. Some preferred to code away until the doors officially closed around 9pm.

We started bright and early again on Wednesday. The previously agreed upon and ever looming deadline of 3:30pm inspired many to the hackathon room before even the coffee had arrived. Distracted only briefly by another decadent lunch buffet, teams worked efficiently, demonstrating time management skills second only to their coding abilities. The justification for the 3:30pm deadline was to ensure teams took adequate time to prepare a brief summary presentation of what they had achieved of the course of the past 2 days. These presentations were given to the hackathon participants and an ad-hoc group of onlookers who were curious to see firsthand why there was so much talk and excitement in the GEN 15 meeting about this first even hackathon. A brief summary of the projects is a follows:

 

  • UNI Manager OpenDaylight Plugin
  • LSO for NRP API implementation
  • End user GUI for NRP API implementation
  • GUI, orchestrator and NRP API implementation using Node.js & Spring Boot microservices
  • NRP API implementation using OpenDaylight
  • CE 2.0 Testing for LSO implementations
    • Note, NRP API was previously known as SCA API

 

In addition to the obvious learning through sharing, the presentations guaranteed that the great work everyone did and the lessons learned along the way benefit the larger community and extend well beyond the limited timeframe of the hackathon itself. Additional information on the hackathon and projects is available now through the hackathon wiki. A more permanent more is being created, and some of the code is already being prepared as upstream contributions into OpenDaylight and OPNFV, both as bug fixes and as contributions to the OpenDaylight UNI Manager project and the  OPNFV Connectivity Services LSO (LSOAPI) project.

 

Rome was not built in a day, nor was the entire LSO architecture implemented at the hackathon. It did jumpstart this endeavor. Not only that, it was instantly viewed as successful enough to warrant a complete series of LSO hackathons, the next one being held in conjunction with the MEF Q2 2016 meeting April 25-28 in – you guessed it, none other than Rome, Italy.rome.png


You can be sure myself and Cisco DevNet are already on board. Mark your calendars – we look forward to seeing you there!

If hackathons to advance the pace and relevance of open standards through open source is up your alley, check out this post about IETF hackathons.