An overarching trend sweeping the industries that combine to create IT infrastructure is the embrace of open, inter-company collaboration on core technology. There have been plenty of examples of corporate affection for open source of late, however the trend was on full display at the recent OpenDaylight Summit where network hardware vendors, component suppliers, telecom companies, software developers and online service providers came together to plot the future of software defined networks (SDN) and cloud provisioned services. The OpenDaylight project, under the auspices of the Linux Foundation and sponsored by 50 (and growing) organizations, exists to catalyze and direct projects that address network plumbing. By shepherding the strategy and development of full stack SDN, from physical switches to virtual network appliances, OpenDaylight hopes to do for networks infrastructure and services what server virtualization and automation have done for cloud services and business applications.
My reactions after immersing myself in the OpenDaylight ethos for three days include both shock at how far the project has come in two short years and awe at the degree to which major forces across various network business constituencies, from services providers (and big equipment buyers) like AT&T, Baidu and Tencent to vendors like Brocade, Cisco and NEC to users like the Large Hadron Collider have rallied around the project, its technology and strategic direction. See my complete analysis in this column, but the takeaway for network designers, application developers and technology executives is that the future of SDN and virtual network services passes through the portal of OpenDaylight.
When behemoths like AT&T make a technology apart of its strategy it sends a powerful signal that OpenDaylight isn’t just a Trojan Horse to maintain the proprietary dominance of a few equipment vendors or an academic exercise for a few tenured professors and exuberant volunteers. Read on to see why, but business and IT executives and their technical leaders ignore OpenDaylight at their peril.
For highlights of presentations I attended at the OpenDaylight Summit, see this photo album.
Disclosure: The Linux Foundation paid for my travel expenses to the Summit, however I have no current or prior commercial relationships with them.