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Seeds of Change

October 24, 2014 at 10:08 am PST

While change is a hallmark of the IT industry, the actual levers for change are BLOG-OPEN-COMPUTE-PROJECT-LOGO-FEB12have actually remained fairly stable. Vendors were the initial agents of change largely because they were the only ones with the critical mass of smart people, R&D, manufacturing and service delivery to seed and then maintain a fledgeling industry—barriers to entry were a bit higher 30 years ago than they are today because the innovation was happening at the physical layer—we were still fighting over layer 1 and layer 2. The best thing that happened to this industry was the rapid emergence of standards developing organizations (SDOs) as the next arbiter of change. The action moved up the stack and networking exploded because protocols like Ethernet, TCP/IP and BGP were standardized and created a stable, level playing field that benefited everyone alike. Over the last few years, the open source movement has emerged as the latest lever for change in the industry. By democratizing the whole process of innovation, open hardware and software is giving rise to an astounding rate of change.

Now, there is many a VC pitch that’s hinges on painting Cisco as the ossified incumbent (trust me, I have seen a few), but the inconvenient reality is we have been active contributors in the open networking initiatives that have emerged in the last few years including ONF, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, and OPNFV. To that list, I am pleased to announce that we recently joined the Open Compute Project as a Gold member. The motivation behind our membership is similar to our involvement in the aforementioned open networking projects: we see the OCP community as an excellent forum to work  with our customers to co-develop solutions to meet the challenges they face.

As you many know, OCP is structured into a number of projects (networking, server design, storage, etc). While there are a number of areas where we could (and will likely) engage, the first project will be Networking (shocking, I know), where we feel we can make some useful contributions to the existing work underway.

Beyond this, I do not have a whole lot more to share—to borrow a phrase from a friend of mine, the coin of the realm is code and specs and the work is just getting started for us, but expect to see some cool stuff in the near future.

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Open Daylight Shines in Impressive Debut

First Open Daylight Summit took place exactly one year since we’ve started the project, to the day! Ah, those memories of having to stay quietly patient, from our first meeting, February 4th, 2013, and longer… in hindsight, talking about it after the code actually started to flow was more appropriate, the 2013 Spring Equinox, as it should. The Open Daylight community has shown that code is the coin of the realm, as it should. To walk that talk, a million lines of code are flowing now and for a project with partners and committers as diverse as this, one cannot do that unless there is a strong tie that binds, the commitment that the best multi protocol controller will be open source: as Linux achieved that status in the OS world, OpenDaylight has a bright opportunity to do so in the network world. As for the bad news, there aren’t any: yes, we would like to see ourselves talk more about use, before we talk about our size, but for a one year old, I think we should be patient.

The outstanding news for this young project is the community diversity, energy and commitment: it brings the best protocol (SB) guys in the world with the best scientists and network (NB) developers in the world in a focused, collaborative, engaged community. Remember, in open source, community trumps code, which side by side with its project sovereignty, is nothing but a formula for success. That is what sets Open Daylight apart, and as long as we take care of those two things, it will be fine. As I said last week during the event, particularly good to see Google, Intel, Ericsson, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, RedHat and others doing their presentations celebrating this event. I am proud of these guys, how they lead the way for any other Open Source project interested in leveraging the network (be it Open Stack, Open Compute Project, or others), Linux Foundation and Open Daylight is the best way to stay ahead, to stay engaged: if you are interesting in networking and open source, there is no other better place than this.

Diverse contributors in Open DaylightDiverse contributors in Open Daylight 

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