Why Open Source and Collaboration Matter in Networking


Today I’m honored to join the world’s largest open source SDN and NFV project as executive director. I wanted to share with the community why I’ve chosen to focus all my time on this project.

I’ve spent the last seven years at VMware working to spread the benefits of compute virtualization. Lately I’ve been talking to many companies about a larger vision–that of a fully automated data center defined by software. I see an important shift taking place in networking, a move whose impact will rival what we’ve seen on the compute side. The difference, however, is that while compute could be changed piece by piece, networks are inherently connected. The entire industry needs to evolve together. As a result I am convinced that open source and collaborative development are required to allow the industry to come together and solve the most pressing problems facing IT today. Chief among them is network programmability. A faster, more agile network can be a crucial part of facilitating the innovation that powers our modern society, such as in the healthcare or manufacturing industries.

What customers and industry leaders are telling us today is that they want the impact SDN and NFV will bring, but that they are leery of locking themselves into single vendor solutions–that they need an open platform that is interoperable with a wide range of technologies. I see a big part of my job as helping the industry understand how open source can get us there faster. In the proprietary world, the goal is to get early market share and as a result you cut corners in order to ship a product. In open source, functionality must be added in a modular fashion and broad interoperability is key from day one. Complete and total visibility and openness allows open source software to deliver technically superior code in a pluggable architecture that’s useful to a broad base, with unexpected innovation often happening along the way.

Hydrogen, OpenDaylight’s first release, is aimed for December and the community is already focusing on the next level of the stack–applications. We are also seeing a number of project proposals being submitted for the second release. Cross development between OpenStack and OpenDaylight over the next two years will not only serve as the basis for virtualized enterprise data centers and cloud service providers but will also be the key technology enabling open innovation in NFV. What we’re seeing is a snowball effect in OpenDaylight: more momentum every week with more developers participating, more code being submitted, more members joining every month, and more interest and awareness at every event. This is tremendous to see at this early phase in the project and the snowball will continue to get bigger as the community delivers its second, third, fourth and all consecutive releases.

OpenDaylight is bigger than any one company or technology. An open source project has no stake except to solve an industry challenge. It puts developers in the driver’s seat. The Linux Foundation has created a neutral space for the industry to focus on the shared challenge of network programmability with OpenDaylight representing the largest community of developers working collaboratively to develop a common, open SDN and NFV platform that anyone can use, modify and contribute to. Anyone can join and help blaze the trail. I am excited to work with the community and hope you’ll join us.


Read more at OpenDaylight Blog